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Southern Ute Indian Tribe demands investigation into unlawfully leaked information for CARES Act funds

Southern Ute Chairman, Christine Sage.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum

On March 27, 2020, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act. This act provided $150 billion for governments, including $8 billion to be allocated among the 574 federally recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages. The funds were to be distributed within 30 days.

On Monday, April 13, 2020, all state, local and tribal governments were instructed to download information in to a secure portal at the Department of Treasury so that they could receive their CARES Act funds. For Tribes and tribal businesses, the information to be provided included tribal membership, lands held in trust and in fee, expenditures, and bank account information in which the funds were to be deposited. The first portion of the funds were to be deposited in to the Tribe’s bank account within approximately 24 hours of filing the certification.

Although the Southern Ute Indian Tribe filed its certification on Wednesday morning, no funds have been received. To make matters worse, on Friday evening we learned that the information provided to the Department of Treasury by every Tribe in the country had been unlawfully released.

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe has taken steps to make sure that its bank account is secure. But more importantly, the unlawful actions by one or more individuals at the federal government to leak this confidential information must be immediately investigated. We call upon the Department of Justice to immediately do so. The history of relations between the United States and tribal nations is replete with broken promises. The unlawful release of information is evidence that those broken promises by the federal government continue to this day.


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