Representatives of Navajo Nation Aim to Do Away with the AG’s Authority in Fiscal Matters 

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According to the Navajo Times, Attorney General Ethel Branch is at risk of losing her authority to make final rulings in local financial matters.

Seth Damon, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee sponsored a new bill which was passed in a recent Law and Order Committee conference.

Branch recently delivered a memo voicing her unease with Bill 0151-17, which would alter the terms of the current Bond Financing Act. More specifically, at least two outlines would be edited in Title 12 of the Navajo Nation Code. These include the General Obligation Bond and Revenue Bonds.

If it’s passed, the AG’s and controller’s consent wouldn’t be needed for issuing bonds. In particular, a focus was placed on lending and deals with Navajo-based enterprises and the Navajo Nation.

Branch stressed in her memo that existing laws are put in place to ensure that nation-to-nation lending and trades comply with local policies. She stated, “Passing this legislation will remove the important legal and political protections that the attorney general and the controller’s approvals provide to our leadership.”

The Vice Chairman of the committee sides with Branch’s point of view and said that when the AG and controller have substantial control over these bonds, it prevents one group from exercising too much power and control.

Damon countered this point of view by making an example out of a deal approved by the Investment Committee, Budget & Finance in June 2016.

The Navajo Nation gaming loan was sanctioned to be cut back by 5.93 %. The loan documents were cleared on Aug 1, however, the loan has yet to be implemented due to the Department of Justice holding the official papers.

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