Three S.D. tribes sue U.S. Treasury Secy. over CARES Act funds

Suit alleges corporations improperly designated tribal governments

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Cheyenne River, Rosebud, and Oglala Sioux tribal governments are suing United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over coronavirus relief funding.

The suit, which was filed Wednesday in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, — involves $8 billion set aside in the CARES Act specifically for distribution to tribal governments.

It alleges that Secretary Mnuchin is improperly including so-called Alaska Native Corporations (ANC) as potential recipients of the funds.

To read the full lawsuit, click here.

The tribes claim that the corporations are not tribal governments and are therefore ineligible for the funds. They also say the ANCs have access to other funds available through the CARES Act.

In their lawsuit, the tribes say the ANCs are ruled by boards of directors rather than government officials, provide no government services, and have no government-to-government relationship with the United States government.

Because Congress mandated that the funds be distributed no later than Sunday, April 26, 2020, the tribes are asking the court for preliminary and permanent declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent Secretary Mnuchin from treating Alaska native regional corporations and village corporations as tribal governments for the purpose of allocating CARES Act relief funds.

NewsCenter1 contacted the Treasury Department for a response but has not yet received a reply.