Navajo Council’s top committee unanimously supports Dine’ Uranium Remediation Advisory Commission; Supports full financial restitution from all political candidates

Here at Navajo Council’s Naabik’iyati Committee which is meeting in the Council chambers in Window Rock, Ariz.

Naabi – without debate – voted 14 in favor, 0 opposed on its first Legislation 0015-15: An Action relating to Law and Order, Resources and Development and Naabik’íyáti’ Committees and the Navajo Nation Council; Amending 2 N.N.C. § 3580 to Create a Diné Uranium Remediation Advisory Commission Sponsor: Hon. Jonathan Perry Co-Sponsors: Hon. Tom T. Chee, Hon. Otto Tso, Hon. Amber K. Crotty, Hon. Mel R. Begay, Hon. Jonathan Nez, Hon. Nathaniel Brown, Hon. Tuchoney Slim, Jr.

Legislation 0015-15 now goes to Council, which is having a special session tomorrow, March 13.

The next legislation was 0063-15: An Act relating to Law and Order, Naabik’íyáti’ and Navajo Nation Council; Amending the Navajo Nation Ethics in Government Law at 2 N.N.C. §3780 and the Election Code 11 N.N.C. §8 by Requiring all Ethics Judgments to be Satisfied Prior to Candidacy for Elective Public Office Sponsor: Hon. Alton Joe Shepherd

SPONSOR, DELEGATE ALTON SHEPHERD
1997 Ethics cases. went thru adjudication. there are names of elected officials on list. in closing loop holes, ethics offices set very lax payment amounts and payment schedule for restitution of $667,000 to the nation. And undisclosed number of cases. i asked for figure and that is $11 million. i’m looking at laws of Navajo Nation and these are civil cases dealing with restitution. so this law i am sponsoring would mandate that restitution is paid in full. there is no mandate for payment amounts and schedule of payments. these individuals could pay one cent. this legislation, since two years ago, the nation has adopted restitution or garnishment law. courts have that on that side. but this is ethics violations and ethics office.

DWIGHT WITHERSPOON
section e of page 4 shall be set based on garnishment law. Delegate Hale and I met with Chief Justice on garnishment procedures and there was even…it appears that half of elected officials on list haven’t paid anything so how would court enforce restitution. So that is why question to Navajo Department of Justice or sponsor, Delegate Alton Shepherd.

NAVAJO DOJ DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL DANA BOBROFF
so amount that can be deducted, depending on garnishment, even tax, is that certain percentage of individual’s wages be a percentage that does not leave individual without financial support. and ethics and rules office would start garnishment procedure.

DELEGATE WITHERSPOON
so to ethics office, now that gardnishment procedures in place, why hasn’t ethics office started garnishment procedures.

ETHICS OFFICE DIRECTOR VERNON ROANHORSE
we are getting finalization of judgements thru Office of Hearing and Appeals and then we have to get final order from former Ethics & Rules Committee. and then there is ten year statute that sets tens years as limit to file. i am only legal practitioner at ethics office to do legal filing.

NDOJ DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL BOBROFF
when talking employees and elected officials receiving paycheck from tribe, in personnel policies states that if if owe money to tribe, there will be payroll deductions. if any of the people on ethics office list and employed by tribe then there is process for payroll deduction.

DELEGATE LEONARD TSOSIE
we passed procedures for qualifications for elected officials but now that Navajo Supreme Court has held Navajo Election Board accountable for qualifications of elected officials, then I will not support. And since this focuses on tribal employees, there should be narrow language so judges not allowed to interpret any way they want. when these are done and found to have violated, why are they running again. i think, this is where NAvajo Supreme Court made mistake, the Election Board would look applications and go into hearing and determine qualification of political candidate. And many asking why not do in first place so now we have these problems because of court decision so something like this may not work.

the other thing too is I saw the sheet and these are public judgements, i know when cameras looking at us, i tend to sit up straight, i try to be transparent, and the same thing here, you should be able to splash it somewhere. we have employees and departments having strange definitions of confidentiality, when they censored voting information. this is why they get back in in; because their names are not shown. maybe we give money to Ethics Office and identify that this candidate owes this money and that candidate will not be elected. i see a lot of empty chairs today. i said if you don’t want to represent people then put on campaign ads that you don’t like going to Window Rock.

same with school boards, who are traveling all over place and spending kids’ money until after they get back. some school boards have gone to Hawaii and Disneyland.

i’m hesitant about approving this law because of what supreme court has done and supreme court changed contempt charge into misdeameanor so we must be careful about how these laws are appliced.

VOTE, 14 IN FAVOR, 2 OPPOSED on 0063-15

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