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Government report alleges ethics violations in handling of Indian trusts

[JURIST] Senior managers in the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) [official website] allegedly violated ethics rules by maintaining an improper relationship with an accounting firm that won more than $6.5 million in contract work related to Indian trust funds [JURIST news archive] held by the government, according to a US Department of the Interior (DOI) [official website] investigation [US News & World Report article]. The report cites several meals, drinks and golf games offered by accounting firm Chavarria Dunne & Lamey [firm website], often just days before contracts were awarded for accounting services, which the DOI has called "preferential treatment."

The office was established in 1994 to manage the Indian trusts after a class-action lawsuit [Cobell v. Norton litigation website] was filed by thousands of Indians who accused the government of mishandling billions of dollars of American Indian money [DOI Indian Trust Fund website]. Plaintiffs are currently considering an $8 billion payment [JURIST report] to settle the case. AP has more.

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