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PRESIDENT BEGAYE VETOS $20M AIRCRAFT LOAN LEGISLATION

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WINDOW ROCK- After careful consideration and consultation with Divisions of the Executive Office, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye vetoed legislation today authorizing a $20 million dollar unsecured tax-exempt loan to acquire new aircraft for the Navajo Nation.

The legislation was for the purchase of a new aircraft, equipment necessary to maintain the new aircraft as well as related financial and legal costs.

Prior to receiving this legislation, the Executive Office wrote a memo expressing our concerns with the legislation, President Begaye said. “Council was aware we had critical concerns and if not addressed then we were not going to support this legislation.”

In a memorandum dated Nov. 9, 2015, President Begaye outlined four areas of concern to support his decision to veto the legislation. His two prime concerns were lack of justification and the source of funds to repay the loan.

First, the legislation does not include sufficient justification for the $20M dollar loan such as a comprehensive feasibility study. Without justification, the Begaye-Nez administration will not “support efforts blindfolded.”

Second, the legislation fails to identify the source of funds and collateral that will be used to pay for this loan. President Begaye said he has requested this information from the Office of the Controller but as of today’s date, the source of funds has yet to be identified.

“As leaders of the Navajo Nation, we must be prudent and fiscally responsible to our People and for our Government,” said President Begaye.

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