March 12, 2019

Hoeven Convenes Hearing on High Risk Indian Programs

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today convened an oversight hearing titled “Where Are They Now: Indian Programs on the GAO High Risk List.”

“As Chairman of this Committee, I remain steadfast to holding these federal agencies accountable to the millions of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the country that receive services such as education, health care and support to advance Indian energy development projects,” said Hoeven. “The functioning of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education and the Indian Health Service is important to many, including this Committee which has oversight authority to ensure the agencies are fulfilling their responsibilities without abuse, fraud, waste or mismanagement.”

In his opening remarks and during questioning, Hoeven reviewed the progress that each Federal Indian program is making since first being placed on the 2017 High Risk List, as well as the challenges that placed the Indian Health Service, the Bureau of Indian Education and Indian Energy within the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the 2019 High Risk List.

Hoeven said the hearing is especially timely with the recent news of former IHS doctor Stanley Patrick Weber’s conviction and sentencing in Federal District Court in Montana for child sex abuse and the upcoming start of his second trial in South Dakota on the same charges. The Chairman pressed IHS on the agency’s response and how it is addressing the issues raised in recent news reports. 

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) releases its High Risk List at the beginning of each Congress, calling attention to Federal programs that are in most need of transformation due to fraud, waste, abuse or mismanagement. Cited in the report, “Improving Federal Management of Programs that Serve Tribes and Their Members” is considered a high risk area. As of their most recent report, 32 GAO recommendations remain outstanding. 

To view the 2019 High Risk List, click here.