6/25/2021 UPDATE: The Supreme Court of the United States returned a favorable decision holding that ANCs are Indian tribes and eligible for funding under Title V of the CARES Act.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress on March 27, 2020. Soon thereafter a lawsuit was filed challenging the eligibility of Alaska Native corporations, like CIRI, to receive CARES Act funds.
In June 2020, a federal judge ruled that Alaska Native regional and village corporations are eligible to receive CARES Act funds. This decision was appealed and overturned by a D.C. Circuit Court, and petitions for a Writ of Certiorari were filed with the United States Supreme Court by both the ANCSA Regional Association and the Alaska Native Village Corporation Association, as well as the Secretary of the Treasury. The petition was granted in early January 2021.
The case was heard by the Supreme Court of the United States on April 19, 2021, and a decision is expected sometime in June 2021. As of today, CIRI and other Alaska Native regional and village corporations have not received CARES Act funds.
CIRI will work with its affiliated service providers to ensure these critical resources are deployed in a manner that ensures our people, communities and economy can get back on their feet.
The amount of funding that CIRI will receive under the CARES Act is not known at this time. What is known is that the CARES Act funding has very specific parameters for expenditures. From the guidance received from the U.S. Treasury, it appears that dividends/distributions to shareholders are not allowed.