Ruling faults Cherokee Nation on tobacco compact

The Cherokee Nation has breached its tobacco compact with the state of Oklahoma, an arbitration panel said.

The tribe agreed to sell cigarettes with an 86-cent per pack tax. A special provision of the compact allows a much lower tax -- 6 cents per pack -- at smokeshops near the Texas, Arkansas and Missouri borders.

The tribe, however, wrongly sold cigarettes with the lower tax at non-border locations, the arbitration panel said. Combined with sales by other tribes, this deprives the state of millions of dollars of revenue a month, according to the state.

The panel rejected the tribe's contention that an emergency rule aimed at curbing 6-cent sales violated the compact. But the panel agreed that another rule -- which has not been implemented -- violates the agreement.

Get the Story:
Tribe's smoke sales under fire (The Tulsa World 3/28)