Treasury Announces Re-allocation of Some Remaining CARES Act Funds: Undercounted Tribes to Receive Funds
May 3, 2021
On Friday, April 30, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury made an announcement in response to lawsuits filed by the Shawnee Tribe, Miccosukee Tribe and Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and the recent D.C. Court of Appeals decision in the Shawnee lawsuit, they would take action to re-allocate a portion of the remaining unpaid funds reserved for tribal governments within the Coronavirus Relief Fund (“CRF”) under the CARES Act. The lawsuits began in June of 2020 when the Prairie Band Potawatomi and Shawnee Tribe sued the Treasury Department for using incorrect IHBG population data to allocate CRF funding in May of 2020.
At issue was Treasury’s use of IHBG population data to determine the Tribes’ populations. Treasury had used population counts for the Indian Housing Block Grant (“IHBG”) program rather than tribal enrollment numbers. Because the IHBG data is incorrect, for the Shawnee and Miccosukee Tribes it showed a population of zero, despite having over 3000 and 650 enrolled members respectively.
Twenty-five Tribes had their population listed as zero using IHBG numbers and many others, including Prairie Band Potawatomi, were undercounted and were therefore given reduced CARES funding.
In an effort to resolve the population data issue, Treasury has proposed to re-allocate and distribute a portion of the remaining funds reserved for tribal governments using tribal enrollment numbers to tribes whose populations were erroneously zeroed out or undercounted with the IHBG population data.
NAFOA will continue to monitor this case and will update our community as new information becomes available.
*** On Saturday May 1, NAFOA issued a Policy Alert, which publicized the Treasury announcement from Friday, April, 30, 2021. The Policy Alert incorrectly characterized the Treasury announcement as a resolution to the litigation brought by the Shawnee Tribe, The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida and The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. The litigation is still ongoing and the federal district court has yet to determine if this new methodology is sufficient to make the parties whole and fully resolve the litigation
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