Senator Claire McCaskill uses legislative loophole to advance anti-native agenda

Lawmaker Seeks to Restrict Promised Economic Opportunities for Struggling Native Communities

WASHINGTON, DC (March 31, 2011) Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) today used a legislative loophole to advance an anti-Native agenda by restricting Native Enterprise access to critical business programs that support America’s most impoverished population.

In an apparent attempt to sidestep the traditional rule-making process, Senator McCaskill packaged her anti-Native legislation, introduced earlier this year, into an amendment on a separate bill on an unrelated matter. “NACA will continue to strongly oppose the Senator's repeated and misplaced attacks on Native 8(a)s, regardless of whatever legislative loophole she uses to advance them,” stated Sarah Lukin, Executive Director of the Native American Contractors Association (NACA).

Native Enterprises provide exceptional value to the U.S. Government and the Native people they serve. The Senator's efforts, if successful, would block the flow of benefits back to Native communities that are only now starting to see first-hand the powerful and important impact of Native 8(a).

Hundreds of thousands of Alaska Native people were displaced when trillions in oil was discovered beneath their feet nearly 40 years ago. In exchange, Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) were formed and promised economic opportunities to succeed. “Senator McCaskill appears intent on breaking this promise, and has conveniently forgotten the enormous sacrifice Native people endured in return for Congressionally-promised access to opportunities to achieve economic-self-sufficiency,” Ms. Lukin continued. “She has led a misguided attack on Alaska Native Corporations in her claim to represent taxpayer interests, while she herself has failed to honor her own responsibilities to U.S. taxpayers.” Ms. Lukin’s comment refers to recent reports the Senator billed taxpayers $76,000 for trips she and her family took on her private jet and her failure to pay $287,000 in back taxes.

New SBA regulations already passed will significantly restrict non-Native executive compensation and subcontracting and help ensure benefits reach Native communities. “Attempts to further restrict Native 8(a) contracting raise serious questions regarding the Senator’s motives against Native Enterprises,” Ms. Lukin added. “The Native community looks forward to the support of its many allies in Congress who honor and respect the unique and special trust relationship Native people share with the U.S. Government. ANCs combined represent less than 1.3 percent of all federal procurement. The public will ultimately decide whether the Senator's attacks on ANCs are genuine in light of her continued support of billion-dollar sole source contracts that benefit huge corporate donors, such as Boeing, located in her home state.”

For more information, please contact Jennine Elias at (202) 758-2676.

For more information visit the NACA Web site.

The Native American Contractors Association (NACA) is a national Native advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. NACA represents and serves Tribal, Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs), and Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs) across the nation on issues relating to the economic self-sufficiency of America’s indigenous people, focusing on our members’ participation in government contracting and the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program. NACA’s members represent over 475,000 Tribal Members, Alaska Native Shareholders, and Native Hawaiians.