On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones, of the Western District of
Washington, awarded our clients, Nooksack 306 family leaders and jettisoned
Nooksack Tribal Councilpersons Rudy St. Germain and Michelle Roberts, $22,000
against the U.S. Interior Department for its violations of the Freedom of Information
Hope the DOI's budget can take the hit. Because they are shuffling requests around in CA like 3 card monte...
In the spring of 2013, the Secretary of the Interior and its Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) convened a federal election of the Nooksack Tribe to facilitate the disenrollment of the Nooksack 306. The BIA failed to properly review a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the Nooksack Indian Tribe, that transparently eliminated federally imposed Nooksack membership criteria that the 306 satisfy, causing tribal legal pundits to deem the election a “disenrollment election.”
Per 25 U.S.C. § 476, the BIA should have never held the election.
In July of 2013, St. Germain and Roberts requested from the BIA the most recent thirty days worth of publicly available information referring or relating to the Secretarial election. For 1,000 pages of responsive information, the BIA demanded that they pay $10,116.00. St. Germain and Roberts appealed this determination via the BIA’s administrative appeals process, as required by federal regulations, but the appeal was ignored by Interior. In turn, St. Germain and Roberts filed suit in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
It was not until July of 2015, when, in the face of St. Germain and Roberts’ summary judgment motion under FOIA, Interior waived the $10,116.00 fee assessment and finally agreed to produce the information requested two years prior.