Agency Culture and Conflict: Federal Implementation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act by the National Indian Gaming Commission, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Department of Justice
37 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2009 Last revised: 24 Oct 2017
Date Written: July 4, 2009
Indian gaming provides a lens through which to consider the implications of divided federal executive power. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is implemented by at least three federal agencies, each of which has somewhat different interests. Moreover, none of these agencies is monolithic and each must reconcile competing interests within its own domain. In examining the culture of three federal agencies, the author seeks to shed light on divided executive branch governance. The article briefly addresses three different issues: the 'independence' of an independent agency, the NIGC, which lacks litigating authority; the problem with shared subject matter jurisdiction by DOJ and NIGC over game classification, and shared decision making by NIGC and DOI on Indian lands questions. The author concludes that divided federal power creates substantial coordination problems at the federal level. These problems often prevent the federal government from speaking with one clear voice that would generate deference to executive power, and sometimes prevent the exercise of executive action. If governmental power in Indian affairs is a zero sum game, one clear consequence of divided federal power is increased tribal sovereignty.
Keywords: Indian Gaming, Department of Justice, National Indian Gaming Commission, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, game classification, independent agencies, separation of powers, Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
JEL Classification: D73, K23, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation