Tester praises court ruling on Cobell settlement distribution of payment

(U.S. SENATE) – Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) today released the following statement in response to Judge Thomas Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia recently approving the second distribution of payments from the Cobell v Salazar case:

“This ruling clears the way for hundreds of thousands of Native Americans to receive their long-delayed payments. I encourage the Garden City Group to quickly get these payments out the door for Indian families who have been asking for justice.”

Cobell v. Salazar was settled in 2009 after 13 years of litigation. The lawsuit, brought by Blackfeet Tribal member Elouise Cobell, accused the federal government of mismanaging Indian trust accounts for decades. The first distribution of payments was made in early 2013, but since then payments have been delayed.

The ruling represents an important step in the Trust Administration payment distribution process. The Department of the Interior, working with Claims Administrator, the Garden City Group, must now address property ownership records before the checks can be mailed.

Tester and fellow Montana Senator John Walsh recently called on the Garden City Group to process the payments as quickly as possible.