Dine' CARE Anna Frazier (520) 657-3291 Lori Goodman (970) 259-0199 February 09, 2000 PRESS RELEASE Ex- RECA lobbyists formally withdraws from Navajo Nation Dilkon, Arizona – Navajo Nation USA In a letter to Navajo Nation President Kelsey Begay, Washington lobbyist E. Cooper Brown recently announced his official withdrawal from any relationship with the Navajo Nation on the reform of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. The environmental and social justice organization Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment would like to acknowledge this turn of events, but also to respectfully request that our Council members continue to pursue an audit of Mr. Brown. We press this issue for two reasons. First, Mr. Brown’s firm received roughly half a million dollars of Tribal funds, and produced no positive result. We feel it is important that the Council understand what went wrong, in terms of oversight, reporting, and accountability, in order to avoid similar problems in the future. As Earl Tully, Vice-president of Dine’ CARE stated, “Mr. Brown does not have to live with the disruption that he leaves behind - a Navajo Nation RECA reform effort that is laughed at in Washington as the 'Cummins and Brown retirement fund' and several Navajo tribal officials who have lost their credibility as leaders on this issue due to Mr. Brown's betrayal of their faith in him as the 'great white Washington lawyer'.” Second, through our extensive contact with other grassroots organizations throughout the United States, we have reason to believe that Mr. Brown’s recent activities are actually part of a broader pattern of a few individuals exploiting radiation victims for their own financial benefit. The timing of Mr. Brown’s withdrawal makes us think that Mr. Brown must want to move on to greener (and safer) pastures. We guess that the greener pastures Mr. Brown sees are the 600,000 nuclear weapons workers who have been exposed to radiation and chemicals for the past several decades. Just last month, the Clinton administration began talking about proposed compensation legislation for these workers, a proposal developed by Mr. Brown's long-time associates. We note just three incidents of inappropriate professional conduct that we are aware of. In the early 1980’s, Mr. Brown and his associates were removed by the board of the National Association of Atomic Veterans due to accountability issues. In the early 1990’s, the Nuclear Claims Tribunal of the Marshall Islands connected Mr. Brown with financial misappropriations by a local government authority that he represented. Later in the 1990’s, while acting as director of the National Committee for Radiation Victims and as a member of the Task Force on Radiation and Human Rights, Mr. Brown also acted as private attorney for radiation experiment victims – a position of conflict of interests that again left a trail of mistrust and bitterness among radiation impacted communities. Our social structure relies heavily on our interconnection with others through systems of clan relations, where one’s merit is measured by their civic duty to their communities. Through our activism with radiation victims, we have found new relations – our sense of commitment to victims now extends beyond the Four Sacred Mountains. We offer to our new relations to work towards that goal of replacing the power structures that limit the input of local people on the decisions and policies that affect their lives. We must let all victims know they are not alone.