When there is collusion between corperations and the government, all those without power suffer. This confederacy of thieves | The Stump - OregonLive.com The lawsuit, now known as Cobell v. Salazar, alleged that the Interior Department -- in collusion with energy companies -- had ignored its fiduciary responsibilities to the plaintiffs by absconding with mineral royalties owed to Native landowners since the late 1800s. Accountants for Price Waterhouse conducted the initial review of the government's books -- that is, the books the government could find. In their 1998 report to the federal district court judge, Royce Lamberth, the accountants pulled no punches. Some $50 billion (and maybe a lot more) had gone missing from Native accounts. In 2003, after twice citing interior secretaries with contempt of court for bureaucratic foot-dragging and chronic malfeasance, Lamberth, a West Texas judge appointed by President George H.W. Bush, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. "Alas," he declared, "our modern Interior Department has time and again demonstrated that it is a dinosaur -- the morally and culturally oblivious hand-me-down of a disgracefully racist and imperialist government that should have been buried a century ago ... . For those harboring hope that the stories of murder, dispossession, forced marches, assimilationist policy programs, and other incidents of cultural genocide against the Indians are merely the echoes of a horrible, bigoted government-past that has been sanitized by the good deeds of more recent history, this case serves as an appalling reminder of the evils that result when large numbers of the politically powerless are placed at the mercy of institutions engendered and controlled by a politically powerful few."