The senior-most political official at the Bureau of Indian Affairs
is back on Capitol Hill this week.
, a citizen of the Kiowa Tribe
who serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, will be testifying about the tribal gaming industry at a hearing on Wednesday afternoon. It marks his second appearance before Congress
in as many weeks and his second since joining the Trump administration last month
Tahsuda has experience in the matter, having worked at the National Indian Gaming Association
, the largest inter-tribal gaming organization. He also represented tribal gaming interests as a lobbyist with Navigators Global
, a Washington, D.C., firm.
Additionally, he's worked for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
, which is hosting the hearing. His former boss, Sen. John McCain
(R-Arizona), still serves on the panel and tribal gaming has long been one of the lawmaker's top priorities
The BIA itself plays an important role in the industry
. Under the Indian
Gaming Regulatory Act
of 1988, the agency must review all Class III gaming compacts
between tribes and states. The BIA also reviews revenue allocation plans submitted by tribes.
More significantly, the BIA processes tribal applications for new casinos, primarily those located on lands away from existing reservations. The Trump administration is already erecting hurdles for these projects by placing decisions in the hands of political officials at the Department of the Interior
Typically, such applications are handled by the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. But President
, who was hostile
to tribal interests
when he was involved in commercial gaming, has failed to nominate someone for the post, something his Democratic and Republican predecessors had already done by this time in their first terms.
The hearing takes place immediately following a business meeting
at 2:30pm Eastern on Wednesday. The sessions are being held in Room 216 of the Senate Hart Office Building, a larger space used when the committee expects a larger crowd than normal.
The full witness list follows:
The Honorable Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri
National Indian Gaming Commission, Washington, DC
Mr. John Tahsuda III
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs
U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC
The Honorable Keeny Escalanti
Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe, Yuma, AZ
The Honorable Harold "Gus" Frank
Forest County Potawatomi, Crandon, WI
Mr. Ernest L. Stevens, Jr.
National Indian Gaming Association
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Notice:Oversight
Hearing on “Doubling Down on Indian Gaming: Examining New Issues and
Opportunities for Success in the Next 30 Years”
(October 4, 2017)
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Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on tribal gaming industry
(September 25, 2017)