Relief Fund Letter From Chairman Ernie Steven, Jr.

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April 10, 2020

Dear Tribal Leader,

The Treasury Department continues to work towards distributing the $8 billion Tribal Coronavirus Relief Fund. The Comment period remains open until April 13th, and we encourage our National Indian Gaming Association Members to send in their comments to the Treasury Department.

We are attaching our Alert and Model Letter for your convenience to make sure your Tribe’s position is heard. The Treasury continues to move towards a formula for equitable distribution to Indian Country. The National Indian Gaming Association is advocating for factors that give substantial weight to the amount of direct employees each Tribal Nation/Enterprise employs. Tribal Governments and Enterprises are working hard to retain their employees for as long as possible. The Treasury should focus their help on retaining, and returning, as many workers as possible to their jobs once the virus starts to subside.

In addition, we have also attached a Memorandum on suggested Tribal Programs that could be used to disburse the Treasury funds received by Tribal Nations. Treasury expects to disburse these funds directly to each Tribal Nation, either through an on-line portal or existing transfer mechanisms used by other federal agencies.

Congress has set limitations on what types of expenses Tribal Nation’s may spend the Treasury funds on. The Attached Memorandum provides examples, largely based upon the existing Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act (TGWEA), already in place at the Internal Revenue Service. Tribes are encouraged to set up separate programs to spend the Relief funds so that in future Treasury audits, Tribal Nations have an existing program that has already met the requirements under the TGWEA.

Finally, the Treasury Department and Small Business Association are having a Tribal Consultation on Tuesday, April 14th at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, AND, 3:00 p.m. Eastern. Please mark this important consultation on your calendars. Call-in number and passcode: 1-888 957-9845, code 1480655 Conference number: 1204890

For both calls, primary tribal leaders are invited to address their concerns to Treasury. When joining the call, please let the operator know if you are a primary tribal leader and would like to make comments.

The National Indian Gaming Association will continue to update our Member Tribes on accessing the Corona Virus Relief Funds, as well as participation in the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program. As media reports have confirmed, the roll-out of these programs have hit several speed bumps, so it is not too late for your Tribe to engage and seek Funds under these programs.

Ernest L. Stevens, Jr, Chairman

Legislative Alert: Formula and Eligible Uses of the $8 billion Tribal Coronavirus Relief Fund