OCPA comment on AG-tribal agreement on McGirt v. Oklahoma

Law & Principles

Staff | July 16, 2020

OCPA comment on AG-tribal agreement on McGirt v. Oklahoma


Contact: Sheridan Betts

Phone: 405-724-2464


OCPA comment on AG-tribal agreement on McGirt v. Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 16, 2020)—Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, issued the following statement today in response to Attorney General Mike Hunter’s proposal for federal legislation to address challenges raised by the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt v. Oklahoma ruling.

“This proposed ‘agreement’ smacks of self-dealing. It essentially ‘gives’ substantial control of the civil and economic lives of approximately 2 million Oklahomans to five tribal governments in exchange for … nothing. 

“The elephant in the room is that the attorney general has no authority to negotiate state-tribal agreements, because that power is vested by the constitution and statute in the governor. And the attorney general is also the biggest recipient of campaign donations from tribal governments in Oklahoma—by far. A broad and vaguely worded agreement, reached behind closed doors between a politician and his campaign donors, conducted without any meaningful authority by the participating politician, is not a recipe for good public policy. 

“To cite just one example, the AG’s agreement grants tribes civil jurisdiction over non-tribal members when the ‘conduct’ of non-members ‘threatens Tribal self-governance or the economic security, health, or welfare of the Tribe.’ That’s an enormous loophole that could impact people across Oklahoma.

“Congress should view this proposal as what it is—a wish list from the participating five tribes, but nothing more.”



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