WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal judge Tuesday held Interior Secretary Gale Norton in contempt for failing to heed his order to fix oversight problems with a trust handling hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties from Indian land.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth called the department's handling of the Indian money and the action of government attorneys in the case disgraceful, noting that he has the authority to take management of the funds away from the department.
Norton is the third Cabinet officer that Lamberth has held in contempt over the trust fund. Former President Clinton's treasury secretary, Robert Rubin, and interior secretary, Bruce Babbitt, also were held in contempt on the case.
In December the judge shut down most of the Interior Department's Internet connections because he said the agency could not ensure hackers wouldn't break in and steal money.
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