By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror
Several Native American nations and other tribal entities from Arizona have joined a lawsuit seeking to block the federal government from giving COVID-19 relief funds designated for tribes to for-profit corporations in Alaska.
The CARES Act, a $2 trillion aid package that Congress passed in March, included $8 billion for tribal governments. The money, which was part of a $150 billion allocation for state, tribal and local government entities, must be used to cover “necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency” caused by the novel coronavirus.
But the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which oversees and distributes those funds, decreed that for-profit corporations associated with tribal members in Alaska are also eligible for the money, leading several tribes to sue in federal court. The Navajo Nation and San Carlos Apache Tribe joined the lawsuit as plaintiffs after it was filed, while the Gila River Indian Community, Inter Tribal Association of Arizona and Arizona Indian Gaming Association have sought to join the case as amici curiae on the side of the plaintiffs.