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Posted: April 18, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 18, 2021

Kiowa Tribe Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Office of Inspector General CARES Act Inquiries 

The Executive Branch of the Kiowa Tribe was recently contacted by the US Treasury Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding the payments the Tribe made with the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). In the preliminary documentation request by the OIG, the Tribe has been asked to respond to and/or provide documentation to support certain expenditures it has made with the CRF.

INQUIRY 1: OIG has inquired regarding the purchase of a residential home, renovations to that personal home, and purchase of personal furniture? Response: No, CRF was not used for such purchases. 

INQUIRY 2: OIG has inquired regarding the purchase of new vehicles? Response: No, CRF was not used to purchase any vehicles. Tribal government vehicles are either leased or purchased through a procurement process. Generally, the Tribe relies exclusively on the General Services Administration to lease vehicles for use by the Tribe from the federal government. 

INQUIRY 3: OIG has inquired regarding the purchase of a new tennis court at a residence in Carnegie, OK? Response: No, CRF was not used for this purpose. The only known tennis court in the Carnegie area is owned by the public school system and is currently in a state of disrepair. 

INQUIRY 4: OIG has inquired regarding the purchase of a vacant building in Lawton, OK? Response: Yes, CRF was used for this purpose. The building was purchased to respond and to mitigate the public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The building is designated as a specialized emergency response center which focuses on the continuity of public health services for tribal members living in the surrounding communities. Renovations were paid from Tribal funds, not CRF. 

INQUIRY 5: OIG has inquired regarding the $1K payments to tribal members? Response: CRF were used to pay for assistance to tribal members during the pandemic to as many tribal members as feasible. The $1000 payments were included in the budget prepared by the Legislators, and sanctioned by the BIA Southern Plains Regional Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Court and approved by the Kiowa Indian Council (KIC). Efforts were made to assess each tribal member’s needs for the payment where feasible.

INQUIRY 6: OIG has inquired regarding the use of CRF for the development of a dance ground for tribal ceremonies? Response: No such expenditures were made with CRF.  All expenditures related to the development of the dance ground were approved and paid by June 2018, long before the COVID-19 pandemic and the enactment of the CARES Act in March 2020. 

INQUIRY 7: OIG has inquired regarding the payment of attorney fee? Response: Yes. Attorney fees which satisfied the CRF eligibility criteria were paid with CRF. These fees included review of legal documents, representation of the Executive Branch at the CFR court into matters directly related to the spend down of the CRF funds, and to answer questions from administration staff regarding COVID-19 issues.  

INQUIRY 8: OIG has inquired regarding the payment of Tribal members’ bills up to $8k per person? Response: Certain tribal members who had a loss of income due to COVID-19 did receive emergency family assistance from CRF to help them and their families stabilize their household. An individual needs analysis was performed on each of these requests and the appropriate determinations were made based on individual need and support documentation.  

INQUIRE 9: OIG has inquired about additional expenditures subject to further questions:

A) OIG has inquired regarding the use of CRF to pay for tribal staff salaries? Response: Some CRF were used to pay tribal salaries and wages for personnel that were performing services that were substantially dedicated to mitigating and/or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

B) OIG has inquired regarding the use of CRF for new COVID-19/Senior Activity Center? Response: Yes, CRF were used for this project. 

C) OIG has inquired whether CRF were used to cover COVID-19 Related Losses? Response: No, CRF were not used to make up for lost income or lost government revenues due to COVID-19. 

D) OIG has inquired whether CRF were used to support a Food Voucher Program? Response: No program was implemented. 

INQUIRY 10: OIG has inquired regarding the Kiowa Tribe’s most recently approved budget as of March 27, 2020? Response:  Budget to be submitted to OIG accordingly.

INQUIRY 11: OIG has inquired regarding the Kiowa Tribe’s modified budget based on the receipt of CRF proceeds, as discussed on the March 22, 2021, call with OIG?  Response:  Budget to be submitted to OIG.

INQUIRY 12: OIG has inquired regarding additional detail specific to the legislative body of the tribe, what their responsibilities are with respect to CRF expenditures, names and titles of those within the legislative body? Response: Information is being compiled.

INQUIRY 13: OIG has inquired regarding the names and titles of those responsible for reviewing and approving CRF expenditures? Response: The information is being compiled. 

INQUIRY 14: OIG has inquired regarding the Tribe’s Constitution (both the one approved prior to March 27, 2020, and the newly approved constitution discussed on the March 22, 2021, call)? Response:  Documents to be submitted to OIG.

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