Monday, April 29, 2013

Susan Bradford: Osage Nation FIRES AKIN GUMP + IETAN CONSULTING Issues

Investigative reporter Susan Bradford has the story on Akin Gump and IETAN Consulting's latest misadventures.

IETAN CONSULTING, a tribal lobbying firm, has generated ill will among tribal members over a recurring pattern of alleged corruption in which its principals have reportedly organized tribal coup d’etats to install their own allies into positions of power on reservations, transferred control of oil and natural resources reserved for Indians to special interest-controlled tribal councils instead, and filled tribal membership rosters with fictitious Indians in order to help elect tribal leaders who serve private interests.

A whistle blower from yet another tribe has come forward to raise concerns about the practices of Ietan Consulting, and its strategic partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP – this time in connection to the Osage Nation of Oklahoma which has negotiating settlements for tribal shareholders due from oil companies that extracted oil from their reservation land without properly compensating the Natives. “Our Minerals Council fired Akin Gump about three weeks ago,” inside sources said. “In my opinion, the firing was way past due.”

The tribe reportedly fired Akin Gump on March 20, on grounds that the counsel he did not have sufficient oil and gas experience and that the tribe was dissatisfied with changes the firm had made to the Code of Federal regulations.

The settlement secured over $300 million for shareholders from U.S. Taxpayers for the federal government’s inability to sufficiently regulate the drilling of oil on reservation, which allowed oil companies to acquire oil at rock bottom prices, often far below what it was worth, while selling it at great profit margin to enrich themselves.
That the Bureau of Indian Affairs was negligent should not come as a surprise given that the oil companies had successfully lobbied to secure the appointment of federal officials who would advance their interests within the agency.
The Osage settlement traces its origins to the 1980s when Sen. John McCain, who is closely aligned with Akin Gump, held hearings in the Indian Affairs Committee on Koch Industry’s alleged miscalculation of oil it had extracted from the Osage Nation. While the Osage chief claimed that Koch had engaged the tribe honorably, and federal investigators determined that Koch’s practices reflected the industry standards, the Committee leadership alleged that the company was victimizing the Indians.

Read more : Susan Bradford’s site

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