The never ending scandal
Posted by aogSunday, 02 February 2003 at 19:48 TrackBack Ping URL
One key difference between private sector financial scandals and government ones is that private ones are dealt with with some reasonable rapidity. In contrast, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has been embroiled in a single scandal for over one hundred years. So far three Cabinet Secretaries have been held in contempt of court, along with assorted deputies. Records have been lost or never kept in the first place along with multiple suspicious fires and claims of contaminated documents. Yet there is no end in sight and Gale Norton, the current Secretary of the Interior, is spinning and delaying as much as any previous one. I exchange some e-mails about this last year when Big Sky View and Inappropriate Response covered it, before I had a blog.

I've been aware of this for quite a number of years. Why it surfaces every now and then but quickly disappears I don't really understand. This is a huge scandal and a major stain on the federal government. It's an abuse of trust and an abuse of some of the most down trodden members of our society. It's abuse of the environment as well with drillling and grazing rights handed out by federal bureaucrats with no accountability.

As Levy points out, many tribes are afraid to object because the BIA controls many other aspects of their existence, which is another scandal in itself. If President Bush wants to promote the rule of law and property rights he could do worse than to start with the BIA and its heavy hand of socialism.

The problem, of course, is that things have gone on so long that the bill could come to tens of billions of dollars. Since the actual money has long since disappeared without a trace, fixing will require in effect a massive new spending program which is probably the major reason the big players (e.g. Cabinet Secretaries) have been obsfucating and delaying hope to pass the bill on to the next administration.

More links to posts and information from Levy.