URGENT: Comments From Tribal Governments to TTAC Needed!

To
NIGA Member Tribes
From

Chairman Ernest L. Stevens Jr.
Jason C. Giles, Executive Director
Danielle Her Many Horses, Deputy Executive Director/General Counsel

re
URGENT: Comments From Tribal Governments to TTAC Needed!
Date
September 12th, 2019

On Wednesday, September 18, 2019, the Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee (TTAC), will hold its second public meeting to discuss a variety of topics critical to the operational structure of the future proceedings of the Committee and to the implementation of the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act (TGWEA), which established the TTAC. This meeting will be held at the Cash Room at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, located at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20220, from 9:00am - 4:30pm EST.

Among the topics discussed will be the adoption of the bylaws, establishment of subcommittees, and prioritization of tribal government taxation issues. At its first meeting in June, TTAC reported receiving only two letters from tribes regarding taxation issues that impact their communities. The Committee needs to hear from tribal governments across Indian Country prior to the upcoming meeting on September 18. It is critical that the TTAC have tribal input as it works to fulfill its role as the first ever tribal advisory committee within the Treasury Department.

Comments from Tribal Governments for Committee review must be submitted by Monday, September 16 to the Treasury Department at Tribal.Consult@treasury.gov.

The National Indian Gaming Association will have representation at this meeting and urges its Member Tribes to submit their comments to the TTAC for review. Your input is vital to ensure the Committee operates as advocates for all of Indian Country on taxation issues. Below we have included a template letter to assist in outreach to the Department of Treasury.

If you have any questions or concerns with this alert, please contact Danielle Her Many Horses at dhermanyhorses@indiangaming.org.

[Tribal Letterhead]

[Date]

The Honorable Lacey Horn, Chairperson
Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20220

Re: Transparency and Accessibility for Tribal Governments

Dear Chairperson Horn,

The [Indian Nation/Tribe] writes to request your full support of the proper implementation of the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act (GWE). The [Indian Nation/Tribe] is concerned that the current proceedings by the Treasury Department does not uphold the true intent of this historic Act.

In December 2014, the Treasury Department issued a draft Tribal Consultation Policy, which included statements that the Treasury Department will endeavor to utilize a consultation process that is "accessible and convenient to Tribal participants," and includes "meaningful, transparent, and accountable dialogue involving the appropriate participants;".

There are a few ways in which TTAC can advise Treasury to better fulfill its goals of a true consultation process. The historic initial public meeting of the TTAC was held at the Cash Room at the Treasury Department's building in Washington, D.C., where tribal members were told they would not be able to access the building with their tribal government issued IDs. These TTAC meetings should be held in public spaces where tribal citizens and officials will not be turned away for using their tribal IDs, fulfilling the need for the process to be "accessible and convenient to Tribal participants".

Second, Treasury must hold meetings and consultations that are truly open and public. A requirement for attendance to either a meeting or a consultation should not have a registration process, and more importantly, should have not a registration deadline that is not conducive for those that may not have access to the announcement in time to make said deadline. Tight registration deadlines for participants severely limit the ability of tribal leaders and advocates to be present and defeats the purpose of "meaningful, transparent, and accountable dialogue involving the appropriate participants".

Throughout the year, various tribal organizations host conferences to unite and engage with tribes across Indian Country. TTAC should advise Treasury Department to host consultations at multiple tribal organization conferences to ensure that those tribes that are unable to attend consultations and meetings in Washington, D.C. can have an equitable chance at having their concerns heard. For instance, the NCAI Annual Conference usually has over 200 tribes participate. Holding a consultation during that conference would lead to far greater representation of tribes able to participate and express their concerns.

Substantively, the [Indian Nation/Tribe] is concerned about [INSERT RELEVANT TAX ISSUE]

In conclusion, the [Indian Nation/Tribe] requests the Department of Treasury, including the IRS, to be transparent and engage in meaningful government-to-government consultations with Tribal Nations pursuant to Executive Order 13175 regarding the implementation of the GWE Act, including appointment process and qualifications for members to the Committee.

Sincerely,


[Name and position with Tribe]