- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The Bureau of Indian Affairs is changing the way it sends money to South Dakota’s Lower Brule Sioux Tribe amid allegations of financial mismanagement by the tribe in recent years.

The BIA said in a letter to the tribe that it plans to distribute money for contracted social services and other programs on a monthly basis, rather than in a lump sum on Oct. 1 as is typically done, the Argus Leader newspaper reported (https://argusne.ws/1WOSxAq ).

The move was made because the tribe has not filed a required audit report of federally funded programs in the last fiscal year. “Moreover, the bureau reserves the right to impose additional sanctions, including withholding funds, if audits are not submitted in a timely matter,” the BIA letter said.

Federal officials are examining nearly $20 million in grants to the tribe in response to a human rights organization’s report this year alleging financial mismanagement in the tribal government. Officials with the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General have said the probes are intended to ensure the money is being handled and spent correctly, and are not criminal inquiries.

Former Chairman Michael Jandreau, who died in April of natural causes, denied any wrongdoing by the tribe.

Tribal Councilman Kevin Wright, who served as acting chairman in the wake of Jandreau’s death, said he agrees with the BIA’s decision to make monthly payments, until the federal investigations are concluded.


Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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