The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is demanding an investigation into the U.S. Treasury Department after the tribe said the department leaked confidential tribal information given to it as part of an effort to obtain funds under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
On Monday, all state, local and tribal governments were instructed to download information into a secure portal at the Department of Treasury so that they could receive their CARES Act funds, according to a news release issued Saturday by Southern Ute Indian Tribe spokeswoman Lindsay Box.
Leaked information about the tribe included tribal membership, lands held in trust and in fee, expenditures, and bank account information, according to the news release.
The news release said the first portion of funds was to be in the tribe’s bank account within 24 hours. However, no funds had been received as of Saturday.
The CARES Act provided $8 billion to be allocated among the 574 federally recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages. The funds were to be distributed within 30 days.
The news release stated: “Although the Southern Ute Indian Tribe filed its certification on Wednesday morning, no funds have been received. To make matters worse, on Friday evening we learned that the information provided to the Department of Treasury by every Tribe in the country had been unlawfully released.”
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe has taken steps to ensure its bank account is secure, according to the news release.
The news released added: “But more importantly, the unlawful actions by one or more individuals at the federal government to leak this confidential information must be immediately investigated. We call upon the Department of Justice to immediately do so. The history of relations between the United States and tribal nations is replete with broken promises. The unlawful release of information is evidence that those broken promises by the federal government continue to this day.”