Chippewa Cree paying up front for water pipeline in wake of corruption cases linked to project

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GREAT FALLS, Montana — A federal investigator says the Chippewa Cree Tribe is being required to pay up front for work on a 50-mile water pipeline after tribal officials and companies were convicted on corruption charges related to the project.

Joe Waller is the resident agent in charge of the U.S. Interior Department's Office of Inspector General.

He said Wednesday the Bureau of Reclamation typically would release money annually for federally-funded projects such as the pipeline on Montana's Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation. That changed in recent months in response to the corruption convictions on the reservation.

Waller says the tribe, through the Chippewa Cree Construction Corporation, is now required to submit invoices and receipts for pipeline costs. Only after those are validated do federal officials release money to cover the costs.

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