Sens. Franken, Klobuchar Introduce Legislation to Allow Minnesota Chippewa Tribe to Receive Settlement Funds
U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) today introduced legislation allowing Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Bands to receive funds from a 1999 settlement. Legislation is needed to resolve the situation because the Interior Department did not distribute the trust funds within one year of the judgment.
"The federal government agreed to this settlement and it's important that the government fulfill its promise," said Sen. Franken. "The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe should have gotten this money a long time ago and this legislation will make sure they finally get what they're owed."
"When the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe agreed to this settlement, they expected to receive the funds in a timely manner - and today we are taking a step towards finally getting this done," said Sen. Klobuchar.
In June of 1999, the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe agreed to a $20 million settlement with the U.S. government. The funds were transferred to the Department of Interior and deposited into a trust fund account established for the Tribe. Because the Interior Department failed to distribute the funds in the amount of time allowed, Congress must act to authorize the use or distribution of funds. Klobuchar's and Franken's legislation, the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Judgment Fund Distribution Act of 2011, commonly known as the "Nelson Act Settlement," resolves this situation by providing the necessary congressional authorization.
Sens. Franken and Klobuchar's bill is companion legislation to a House bill introduced by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and cosponsored by Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.).