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Statement showing the amounts paid to Webster Ballinger for legal services and
other expenses from Chippewa Tribal funds.
Of the $10,151.43 shown to have been paid to me $976.43 represents expenses contracted by the legislative committee which were paid by me and for which I took receipts. The receipts were attached to accounts which in turn were duly approved and warrants on the council appropriation drawn in payment thereof in my name. This amount, while paid to me represented only repayment of moneys I had actually paid out in settlement of accounts contracted by the legislative committee. The amount actually received by me for salary and expenses during the entire seven and one-half years was $9,175.
In addition to the above amount individual Indians contributed $156 in 1916, and in 1918 one Indian voluntarily sent me $25 to apply on the expenses of preparing a petition in the case of his minor children, which I had been directed by the council to handle. Thus the total amount received by me out of the appropriations for the council and individual contributions during the seven and one-half years I was at work is $9,356.
My expenses during the seven and one-half years I was employed were substantially as follows: Years 1914 and 1915, one-third of time of one clerk-stenographer, at $100 per month
$800 Years 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, and six months of 1921, two-thirds of time of one clerk-stenographer, at $100 per month.
4, 400 Years 1914 and 1915, one-third of office rent, etc., at $70 per month.
560 Years 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, and six months of 1921, two-thirds of office rent, etc., at $80 per month.
3, 520 Special help --
750 Court costs, including briefs..
750 Railroad fare and expenses to reservations in Minnesota, six trips.
900 Incidental expenses not enumerated
Total amount paid out by me.
The amount I have paid out in excess of the amount I have
2, 904 Five hundred dollars of the amount appropriated in the bill is to pay the secretary of the general council for one year's work, for which he has received nothing. If I receive all of the $21,000 remaining after the secretary is paid, I will receive for seven and one-half years' work $18,096 for my services and will be reimbursed in full for my expenses.
Mr. BURTNESS. I take it that you have a record of your disbursements, your traveling expenses, and cost of printing briefs, the actual disbursements?
Mr. BALLINGER. I do not know that I could give an actual statement of that; I can give an approximation. The reason of that is this, that I did have it
down to 1919. After the council adopted the resolution that I spoke of fixing the amount to be paid in up to that time, in the transfer of my files around Some of those records have either been thrown Out or transferred, so it would be pretty difficult to locate all of them. Mr. RoACH. Is the entire time of yourself and office force devoted to the affairs of the Chippewa Indians, or do you do a general law practice? Mr. BALLINGER. I would say, Congressman, that throughout each year after 1917 that from one-half to two-thirds of the time of my office, that is, my clerks and myself, were devoted to Chippewa matters, Mr. HAYDEN. How many clerks have you had 2 Mr. BALLINGER. I had two. Mr. HAYDEN. Do you maintain an office by yourself or do you have a partner? Mr. BALLINGER. I have no partner, and during that period of time I have maintained one room specially for the use of the officers of the council when here. I have five rooms in my office. I have set aside one room that has been used exclusively—that is, largely—by these delegates that come down here year after year. I had to have some place where they could work. Mr. LEATHER wood. Have you through this period carried on a general law practice? Mr. BALLINGER. Yes, sir. Mr. McCoRMICK. Do you expect that this $21,500 will cover everything, including any claims made by yourself against the tribe for eXpenSes? Does it also include your fee for your personal services? Mr. BALLINGER. It includes everything. The CHAIRMAN. Up to what date? Mr. BALLINGER. Up to July 1, 1921. The CHAIRMAN. Of course, you are continuing in the service of the council after that date? Mr. BALLINGER. Congressman, I am, and yet I am not. I am in a peculiar situation. At the last general council I asked them to adopt a resolution authorizing my employment under an approved contract, because I thought under the change of administration perhaps we would get along a great deal better. The contract was authorized, executed, and submitted to the department and considered, but because of a situation in the State of Minnesota that is hostise to the general council and because of opposition from a minority faction of the Indians, the commissioner, and the department, and I do not know but what I agree with them, thought it best to deny approval. I have a letter from the commissioner stating that he regretted that I pressed the matter for decision, as he had been in hopes that he could have finally worked out its approval. Mr. HAYDEN. In what sum was that? Mr. BALLINGER. It was $6,000 per annum, and all necessary expenses. Mr. BURTNEss. Was there not a fight of some sort in the last meeting of the general council of these Indians? Were there not two separate groups claiming that they constituted the party in majority? Mr. BALLINGER. I am glad you asked that question. Prior to about 1918—it was after 1918—there was absolute unaniminity among the Indians in that country. This general council was never questioned by any one. It was their representative body. In 1918 a gentleman by the name of James I. Coffey and another by the name of Benjamin Caswell became disgruntled with the council for reasons well known, and the members there declined to recognize them in any manner, shape, or form. They instituted what they called a bolting faction. That faction that was led by them consisted of all the Indians of the indolent class—the class that wanted pork houses and handouts; and the class that I represented were the progressive class that believes that the salvation of the Indian is to first ascertain whether or not he is competent and then turn him loose, and for the department to Continue its supervision only over the incompetent class. That class that wants handouts wants the maintenance of the boarding schools, because the maintenance of the boarding schools enables them to keep their children in there for nine months of the year where they are fed and clothed and supported without expense to the parent—are opposed to the general council, that insists that all children, so far as possible, should be in the public Schools. Mr. SWANK. Prior to 1918 there was no division of sentiment among the council'? Mr. BALLINGER. That is true? TMr. Swan K. The year before we increased the appropriation to $10,000? Mr. BALLINGER. 1918.
Mr. Swan K. Out of that $10,000 you have received $1,500? Mr. BALLINGER. Yes, sir. Mr. Swan K. As soon as the council had money to pay they paid you in 1916 or 1917 the sum of $400. Was that $400 out of the $10,000? Mr. BALLINGER. I think it was $6,000 in 1916–17. ‘Mr. Swan K. They only gave you $400 that year? Mr. BALLINGER. Yes, sir. Mr. Swas K. At any time during those years when there was an agreement among the Indians and the council was unanimous, as you call it, did you submit any bill to them or any statement of what they owed you or ask them to make any appropriation such as you are proposing here now? . BALLINGER. Precisely, I think, Mr. Congressman, the vouchers submitted to the department show that those are payments on account. Mr. Swan K. I understand that; but what was the amount? For instance, they employed you in 1913–14. At the end of that fiscal year, did you submit them a statement for services rendered during that first year, of so much? Mr. BALLINGER. No. Mr. Swan K. Did you do that in 1916 or 1915? Mr. BALLINGER. I think that in 1916 or 1917 the council then adopted a resolution for the first time fixing my salary at $6,000. Mr. Swan K. And that faction retained you each year for $6,000? Mr. BALLINGER. Yes, sir. Mr. Swan K. And the department would not approve the contract? Mr. BALLINGER. The matter was never submitted to the department. Under your appropriation bill that money was to be paid upon approval by the officers of the general council upon certification to the Secretary of the Interior. The department had no jurisdiction over that fund. Mr. HAYDEN. That may be. That is, you received the $1,500 in 1918, the $2,500 in 1919, and the $3,500 in 1920; all out of that $10,000 appropriation? Mr. BALLINGER. Yes, sir. Mr. HAYDEN. I will say very frankly to you, that if some Members of Congress had known you were going to get the money, they would not have appropriated it. Mr. BALLINGER. I had never supposed there was any question about it, because if you take the statement submitted by the Indian Bureau to Congress you will find in the explanation a statement of the disbursements, so much for attorney fees, so that I had never supposed for a moment that any Congress. was misled. If I had thought so, I would have come to you frankly and old you. Mr. HAYDEN. The department states in its report here in substance that you have assumed to represent the Chippewas without an approved contract. That is, from their point of view, the ordinary tride of Indians that wants an attorney, asks for one, and submits a contract to the Indian office, and if they think it is a fair contract they approve of it. As far as I am concerned, I think that procedure is wise and proper, so long as the Government is administering the affairs of the Indians. If they ought not to be allowed to administer their affairs without superyision, if their general affairs are supervised, it seems to me that to permit you now, by some private agreement with the Indians, assuming to represent them, to come in here and collect this sum of money, we would encourage any claims attorney here in Washington, whose business is not as good as it might be, to assume to represent a tribe, to render some service by securing an appropriation or a change of legislation that he can claim that by his lobbying activities it was Secured, and, therefore, he is entitled to credit as though it was earned as a fee by a case in court. In that case we are going to start here a system which will lead to infinite difficulties with other tribes. So, I think the law or custom of procedure to require an attorney to have his contracts approved by the department is justified, and that we might be making a very serious mistake, it seems to me, to depart from that practice. Mr. BALLINGER. If the policy that you suggest had been adhered to, nothing Could have been done. Not a thing that the general council has accomplished Could have been accomplished, and up until those investigations were made and the reports submitted here to Congress and to the department, you gentlemen were proceeding in ignorance as to the conditions among the Chippewas as to the nature and title of their trust estate. I say that because of the legislation o enacted, I know you gentlemen, knowing you as I do, would never ave given your assent to such legislation if you had known the facts.
The CHAIRMAN. Is it not a fact that the reason you have not presented a contract to the commissioner, previous to the one that you have referred to, since the new administration, was on account of the differences between the various elements in the Chippewas? You have been recognized as the counsel for the council of the Chippewas, but there has always been an element which has claimed that the council was not representing all of the Chippewas.
Mr. BALLINGER. That element has lately sprung up-since 1918.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that not the real reason why the contract was not presented?
Mr. BALLINGER. No; the real reason why that was not presented was that there were the greatest differences between the general council and the Indian Bureaut or the department with reference to these matters.
The CHAIRMAN. Was not that because of the fact that there were two elements up there and the bureau was unable for many years to make up its mind whom it should recognize?
Mr. BALLINGER. No, sir; the bureau has from 1913 down to July 1, 1921, continuously recognized this general council as the General Council of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota.
The CHAIRMAN. Give us the real reason why you did not present the contract.
Mr. BALLINGER. The real reason why I did not present it was that I knew that if I did submit such a contract to the department it would not be approved, because the department was not in sympathy with the work being done by this general council. In other words, Congressman, the department for years denied, and only recently has practically conceded, that the contention of the general council with reference to the Red Lake Reservation is correct. It has only been recently that they have conceded that the contention of the general council with reference to the forest reserves is correct; and legislation is now being formulated in the department for the abolishment of the forest reseryes, but that was combated at first by the department.
Mr. HAYDEN. All these Chippewa Indians are citizens who are entitled to vote in the State of Minnesota ?
Mr. BALLINGER. All except those on the Red Lake Reservation., none of whom have been allotted.
Mr. HAYDEN. Every allotted Indian automatically becomes a citizen?
Mr. HAYDEN. They are located in the various congressional districts and help to elect Congressmen who come here to represent them?
Mr. BALLINGER. Yes, sir.
Mr. HAYDEN. Those Congressmen have not always agreed upon what ought to be done?
Mr. BALLINGER. I do not think there has ever been any agreement between any two of them,
Mr. HAYDEN. That being the fact—that men coming from the State, for whom these Indians voted and elected to Congress, could not agree upon what ought to be done for the tribe as a whole that would indicate that there was some division of sentiment in the tribe itself as to what ought to be done.
Mr. BALLINGER. The Indian vote in the congressional districts—there are three congressional districts in which these Indians live—the Indian vote in those congressional districts is an infinitesimal portion of the votes cast.
Mr. HAYDEN. I am not referring to political influence that the Indians might have; but any Congressman, representing any people, particularly those who vote for them, naturally takes an interest in their welfare and could not do otherwise coming here than consider the need of the people he represents. An honorable man will do that, and they have all been honorable men. So I brought this question out, as the Committee on Indian Affairs has been continually embarrassed by delegations from that State on these matters in the past, and they have not been in agreement upon what should be done. At one time we might be fully advised by one delegation and at another time by another, in one case agreeing on it and at another time disagreeing. Laws and measures were passed and appropriations were made and then taken away, and the committee itself has not had the same advice from the Congressmen from that State as to what should be done but has done the best it could under these conditions.
The CHAIRMAN. Is the introducer of this bill one of the Congressmen who represents Indian votes?
Mr. BALLINGER. No. I am glad you have mentioned these matters, so I take "hem up. Prior to 1913 the Indians had no representative down here. They
d no general council and no organization. Prior to 1913, at the instance
of the Congressmen, a great many of the very conditions that it is now neces sary for you to adjust and compose were created by the legislation enacted at their instance. Mr. RoAch. During those years since 1913 that you have been representing, or assuming to represent, the Chippewa Tribe, without a contract approved by the Interior Department, has there been any other attorney who has been selected by the general council who has had an approved contract with the department? Mr. BALLINGER. No, sir. Mr. RoAch. Has there been any special attorney with whom the department has been cooperating? Mr. BALLINGER. No, sir. Mr. RoAch. You have had no contract with the department, as I understand it? Mr. BALLINGER. No approved contract. Mr. RoACH. When did you attempt to secure the approval of any contract with the department? From your general statement you have been appearing before the department from time to time making suggestions, filing briefs, petitions, and memorials. Have they been cooperating with you and recognizing you as the counsel ? Mr. BALLINGER. As the attorney for the council : yes, sir; and committees of Congress and in the courts and everywhere that I have been I have been recognized as the attorney for the General Council of the Chippewas. Mr. HAYDEN. In a committee of Congress did not you have some difficulty with one chairman of this committee at one time? Mr. BALLINGER. I think I did. Mr. HAYDEN. My recollection was that the chairman of the committee forbade you appearing before it any more? Mr. BALLINGER. That was because of a personal difference. Mr. HAYDEN. Was it in connection with the Chippewas? Mr. BALLINGER. It was on account of a personal difference having no connection with the Chippewa matters. Mr. HAYDEN. I merely mention that from the fact that I came here about that time and I was so informed by the committee that Mr. Ballinger was persona non grata before the committee. They decided they did not care to hear from you any more and, shortly after that, we had a matter up in the House and to it Mr. Knutson offered an amendment and a certain question of fact arose as to a Supreme Court decision, and Mr. Knutson stated on the floor of the House that the decision was a certain way and on the strength of that statement the House adopted an amendment to the bill, and it afterwards turned out it was not, and that Mr. Knutson had been advised by you as to that decision, misrepresenting the law and the facts to him. Mr. BALLINGER. Mr. Congressman, the only representation I ever made to Mr. Knutson was in writing, and I have a copy. I do not think there is any question but what I have a copy of the memorandum that I gave him in writing, because in handling these Chippewa matters, particularly with reference to amendments to bills, I have uniformly reduced them to writing, with an explanation, and I think Congressman Knutson was mistaken. My statement to him was in exact conformity with the decision of the court. Mr. HAYDEN. I know on the strength of that reference the House adopted the amendment and when it reached the Senate and they found the law and the facts were the other way the House promptly reversed itself when the bill came back. The CHAIRMAN. We will have a statement from Mr. Meritt at this time with regard to Mr. Ballinger's status now and his status down to this year, from 1913 down to this date. Mr. HAYDEN. I think that would be very valuable. Mr. MERITT. I had not intended to say anything in connection with this matter and we were satisfied to simply bring to the attention of the committee the report we have submitted on Mr. Ballinger's bill, which report is dated January 7, 1922, and signed by Acting Secretary Finney. We have submitted previous reports on similar bills and those reports have been adverse. I think a short statement of the general conditions in the Chippewa country might be enlightening to the committee. A number of the members of the committee know that situation, but for the benefit of the newer members of the committee I will say that we have about 11,000 Chippewa Indians in Minnesota on six