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Congressman John Larson

Representing the 1st District of Connecticut

LARSON, BLUMENTHAL, MURPHY, COURTNEY URGE INSPECTOR GENERAL TO INVESTIGATE TIMING OF INTERIOR CASINO DECISION

June 12, 2018
Press Release

(Hartford, CT) – Congressmen John Larson (CT-1), U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Joe Courtney (CT-2) released the following letter to the Department of Interior Office of the Inspector General today asking that the OIG consider in its ongoing investigation the timing of Interior’s decision regarding the Mohegan Compact agreement.

We remain deeply concerned about the propriety of the actions of the Department of the Interior officials as articulated in our February 9, 2018 letter.   Further, the timing of the decision by the Department to publish the Mohegan Compact amendment more than six months after federal law required and the failure of the Department to provide similar effect to the Mashantucket Pequot amendment raises additional questions and concerns which the Inspector General should review,” the letter states.

Larson, Blumenthal, Murphy, and Courtney sought an investigation by the OIG into Interior’s highly unusual decision to take no action regarding proposed amendments to the Tribal-State agreements between the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes and the State of Connecticut. That investigation is ongoing.        

Full text of the letter is copied below.

 

    June 8, 2018

 

The Honorable Mary L. Kendall

Deputy Inspector General

Office of the Inspector General

U.S. Department of the Interior

1849 C Street, Northwest

Washington, D.C.  20240

 

Dear Ms. Kendall:

 

            On February 9, 2018, we wrote to request your investigation into the decision of the U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) to take no action regarding the proposed amendments to the Tribal-State agreements between the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes and the State of Connecticut.  We indicated that this decision raises serious questions as to whether the Department of the Interior is properly carrying out its longstanding legal trust responsibilities regarding Native American Tribes. See generally, Seminole Nation v. United States 316 U.S. 286 (1942).  We also cited a Politico article that raised issues of potential conflicts of interest and impartial decision making, noting that the Secretary refused to even talk with members of the Connecticut delegation about these Connecticut-specific amendments while “MGM and its allies had direct access to Interior.”

 

            We appreciate your office’s quick response to our February request by initiating an investigation and write now to urge you to continue to aggressively pursue this investigation notwithstanding a recent decision by the Department of the Interior to publish in the Federal Register the Mohegan Compact amendment thereby making such amendment effective without express approval. 

 

            We remain deeply concerned about the propriety of the actions of the Department of the Interior officials as articulated in our February 9, 2018 letter.   Further, the timing of the decision by the Department to publish the Mohegan Compact amendment more than six months after federal law required and the failure of the Department to provide similar effect to the Mashantucket Pequot amendment raises additional questions and concerns which the Inspector General should review.       

 

We appreciate your diligent investigation and look forward to your report. 

 

                                                            Sincerely,