U.S. SENATE – Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) today held a hearing to review the President’s nomination of Jonodev Chaudhuri to serve as Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission. Mr. Chaudhuri was nominated on July 22 by President Obama and has served this past year as Vice-Chair of the Commission. He was appointed to serve as the vice-chair by Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.
“For the Commission to succeed, it needs good leadership,” Tester said. “Mr. Chaudhuri has provided that leadership in an acting capacity for over a year now. He has an extensive background in Indian affairs and is respected in the Indian law and Indian gaming communities,” Tester said.
“I have the opportunity, as a regulator, to do my part to perform an important role in supporting self-determination. Namely, through sound regulation, I can help preserve the integrity of an industry that has had a monumental impact on the historical landscape of Indian Country.”
If approved by the Committee and confirmed by the full Senate, Chaudhuri would head the agency that helps ensure the integrity of the Indian gaming industry and promotes tribal economic self-sufficiency.
When Congress enacted the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act over 25 years ago, it established the National Indian Gaming Commission as an independent agency to oversee gaming at the federal level. The Act recognized tribes as the primary regulators of gaming, but left specific responsibilities to the Commission.
The Chairman and the two other commissioners oversee nearly 100 employees who work at the Washington, DC, headquarters and seven regional offices. The agency is funded at approximately $20 million annually, all through fees collected from tribal gaming operations.
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