WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, joined Committee Chairman John Hoeven (R-N.D.) in leading a business meeting to consider the nomination of Tara Sweeney to serve as the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. The committee favorably reported her nomination by voice vote. Her nomination now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
In his opening statement Udall emphasized the significance of this nomination and underscored the commitment Sweeney made at her confirmation hearing last month to educate and advocate for Indian Country within the current administration. He said, “Ms. Sweeney’s nomination comes at an important time with an administration repeatedly calling into question the unique status of Indian tribes under federal law, whether by design or by mistake.”
In reference to his questions from Sweeney’s May 9th nomination hearing, Udall also reaffirmed the importance of her recusal in all matters regarding the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, of which she is a shareholder and former senior employee, including from oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He said, “In this administration, more than ever, the American people are concerned about transparency and concerned that public officials are making private gains through their public service.”
Udall’s opening statement as prepared is below:
Thank you Chairman Hoeven for calling today’s business meeting to consider Tara Sweeney’s nomination to be Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.
Ms. Sweeney’s nomination comes at an important time, with an administration repeatedly calling into question the unique status of Indian tribes under federal law, whether by design or by mistake.
During her hearing, Ms. Sweeney pledged that, if confirmed, she would be up for the challenge as the top political appointee in Indian Affairs, someone that Indian Country could rely on to educate and advocate within this administration, and someone who would be held accountable.
In this administration, more than ever, the American people are concerned about transparency. And concerned that public officials are making private gains through their public service.
I was glad to hear Ms. Sweeney commit to recuse herself from any matters “directly affecting or with respect to the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation,” including oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Recusal is required not only because her ethics pledge requires it, but also because “it is the right thing to do.” Ms. Sweeney also pledged that she would not seek a waiver from that recusal.
I appreciate her commitment for the record. And I intend to hold her to it if she is confirmed.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.