A Kansas Native American tribe is appealing to President Joe Biden’s administration for $7.5 million from the first round of coronavirus relief funding under the CARES Act.
The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, which is based near Mayetta, had filed a lawsuit last June against the U.S. Treasury Department, claiming the department under former President Donald Trump had used improper data to allocate relief money.
The federal government then was using an Indian Housing Block Grant data to allocate and divide the approximately $8 billion set aside for tribes among them. But the data was flawed and undercounted populations, according to multiple lawsuits, and the Treasury ignored data tribes submitted themselves.
The Prairie Band Nation said that mistake meant $7.5 million lost for them. Other tribes in the nation, such as Oklahoma’s Shawnee Tribe, said that mistake meant it would receive virtually nothing , as the Shawnee didn’t participate in the IHBG program.
“The Trump Treasury Department used a wholly inappropriate housing-based formula that cost us and other tribes millions of dollars of needed relief,” said Prairie Band Nation Chairman Joseph Rupnick.
Their lawsuit said it was an “arbitrary and capricious decision to ignore tribal enrollment” when using IHBG data.
Steven Mnuchin, then-secretary of the U.S. Treasury, pushed back.”No methodology can predict, with certainty, any given tribe’s increased expenditures stemming from COVID-19, and Treasury’s methodology is not ‘arbitrary and capricious’ simply because plaintiff believes it has a marginally superior alternative,” Mnuchin had said .Prairie Band, Shawnee Tribe and Florida’s Miccosukee Tribe sought to pause the distribution […]