I am contacting you on behalf of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. Based on recent activity of the National Indian Gaming Commission, it has become clear that urgent action is needed to replace the current chair and fill the vacant associate commissioner position.
As you are aware, your chief of staff extended the order of the Office of Management and Budget directing all federal agencies to stop issuing regulations unless reviewed by one of your appointees. Contrary to this clear directive and at significant expense to the tribes, the NIGC persists in undertaking action to develop rules relating to Minimum Internal Control Standards (MICS).
In fact, at a recent meeting of the MICS Tribal Advisory Committee Aug. 3 – 4, called by the NIGC, the NIGC representative specifically stated that Mr. Emanuel’s directive does not apply to the NIGC because it considers itself an independent agency that does not need approval for its regulations from OMB.
Based on this misguided belief, NIGC continues to push forward to develop rules, without proper consultation with tribes, that impose unnecessarily high costs on tribal gaming operations and exceed NIGC’s statutory authority.
The NIGC has ignored various executive orders and federal laws specifically requiring consultation, and has disrespected the basic tenets of a government-to-government relationship.
And, all this action is being taken contrary to your specific directives and despite the fact that the NIGC was established to protect tribal gaming as a source of revenue for tribal governmental services and functions, and not to inflict severe financial damage on the tribes.
The current NIGC chairman continues to serve despite the fact that he is a partisan holdover that this administration is entitled to replace. Additionally, the associate commissioner position, which is filled by the secretary of Interior, is also vacant.
While we very much appreciate that you have many urgent and pressing matters before you, we cannot stress enough how improper it is for a holdover from the prior administration to be setting public policy, without consultation and against your specific directives, at the great expense of the tribes.
We appreciate that the best replacements can be found through a reasonable and prudent vetting process, but we encourage you to give your prompt attention to making the necessary appointments. We also ask that you immediately order the NIGC to cease all action on these rules pending full confirmation of the new panel.
We are proud of the respect you have shown for Indian country. However, that is being significantly undermined by the actions of the NIGC. We hope you agree that the NIGC must immediately cease its repeated attempts to continue abandoned policies that are contrary to our interests and contrary to the goals you have set.
We also respectfully request that you act immediately to appoint a new chairman and ask Secretary SaIazar to appoint a new commissioner, direct the new chairman and commissioner to comply with the appropriate government-to-government consultation process, and delay publication of any new NIGC regulatory proposals until the new chairman and commissioner are in office.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.
– W. Ron Allen
Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe