Botched Job Taints Resume of Dan Snyder's New Native Friend
The man chosen by Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington football team, to head his new Indian country charitable foundation, helped clip the Bureau of Indian Affairs for $1 million, and the botched contract cost taxpayers an additional $600,000 in termination fees, according to a federal investigation.
On Tuesday, March 23, Snyder announced in a letter addressed “To Everyone in our Washington Redskins Nation” the creation of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation (OAF) whose mission, he said, is “to provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities.” To head up his new foundation, Snyder chose Gary L. Edwards, a Cherokee Nation citizen, and founder and chief executive officer of the National Native American Law Enforcement Association (NNALEA), whose law enforcement recruitment services contract with the BIA was investigated by the Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The OIG is an independent oversight organization that sets and monitors ethical standards in the department’s employees and products.
An interesting choice, observed Carly Hare, Pawnee/Yankton and the executive director of Native Americans in Philanthropy. “There are a number of amazing Native foundation leaders who could have been a strong advisory resource.”
Hare, like so many other Native Americans, was not thrilled at the announcement of Snyder’s OAF. She wrote, “I woke up to Dan Snyder's letter on my phone and the message: ‘Poverty Porn meets White Privilege in taking Cultural Appropriations to a whole 'nother level. Mind blowing... full inception.’”
The OIG’s investigation of Edwards’ contract with the BIA was aimed at finding out if the BIA’s Office of Justice Services (OJS) received the intended benefits by awarding a $1 million contract to NNALEA to provide 500 qualified Native American law enforcement applicants to serve in law enforcement positions on reservations. Qualified applicants had to meet legislative requirements, regulations and guidelines for employment of federal law enforcement officers, such as Indian preference, citizenship, age parameters and education.
The OIG’s May 9, 2012, investigation report came down hard on both the BIA and NNALEA. “We found that the OJS received no benefit when they awarded a recruitment services contract to NNALEA, thus wasting almost $1 million.”
Among its various transgressions, the BIA violated federal rules by awarding the contract to an organization whose board of directors were primarily government employees. At the time the contract was awarded, five out of seven NNALEA board members were employed by federal agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Secret Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “By appointing NNALEA dues paying members to participate on the technical panel that evaluated and selected NNALEA as the contractor, BIA created an appearance of a conflict of interest,” the report says.
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