Monday, April 7, 2008

Response to Sun Journal Editorial/March 29. 2008

Tribes Are Sovereign and What We Do Not Give Up We Retain.

I am writing in response to your editorial dated March 29, 2008 “Tribes can be sovereign and transparent”.

Tribes are sovereign and what we do not give up we retain.

The tribes came under the Maine freedom of access law because of a Maine Supreme Court ruling. The State Court used the Settlement Act to allow Maine access to our files. The Settlement Act was a three-way agreement between governments; Federal, State and Tribal. The meaning of the Act cannot be changed unless the State and the Tribes agree to it.

In this case the State interpreted the Settlement Act through Court rulings. We do not agree with these rulings. The ruling clearly favored the Paper Companies and the State of Maine. It was an end-around the agreement.

I totally agree that, when State monies or Federal monies are granted to any entity be it State, Tribal or Municipal, there needs to be an accounting for those funds. The Maine Freedom of information Act is not the right instrument in this instance. It would not have mattered one iota if any freedom of information act applied in the case you site.

It took a complete federal investigation in cooperation with other federal agencies to trace how the money was spent and indeed the feds did their homework. Freedom of Information had nothing to do with it.

I would also suggest that if the feds investigated State Government they would find wrongful spending as well. The State has messed up in a number of areas where they have been called to task on and even have had to repay. Look at the millions the State owes the hospitals and doctors for the fiasco in Medicaid alone. That was a boondoggle if I ever saw one.

Maybe if the feds investigated some of those dealings there might be some indictments.

Look at the mess we’re in now with hundreds of millions of dollars in a budget shortfall. Why is that? Where did that money go? Maybe we need to trace that money trail. You want transparency in government? Start with your own and use the same microscope as you always do when it comes to tribal governments.

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