GM 11-139

Department of Justice Seeking Tribal Input on PACT Act

On November 15, 2011, the Department of Justice (DOJ), through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), distributed a “Dear Tribal Leader” letter seeking tribal input on the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act of 2009, codified at 15 U.S.C. § 375, et seq. ATF will convene a public meeting at 1:30 p.m. on December 14, 2011, at the DOJ building in Washington, DC, 950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, to discuss several PACT Act issues that tribal leaders have raised over the past few months.

The DOJ is seeking input from tribal leaders in order to continue a dialogue on PACT Act concerns that may impact tribal sovereignty, and also for the possible issuance of a formal interpretive rule on the PACT Act. Accordingly, the DOJ also requests tribal input concerning the benefit of formally promulgating an interpretive rule to clarify the concerns that tribes have raised.

Although the ATF welcomes tribal input on any matters of concern to tribes arising under the PACT Act, there are three specific issues on which they seek input. First, whether the definition of “interstate commerce” at 15 U.S.C. § 375(9) includes commerce between two points that are both in Indian Country, regardless of whether those two locations are in the same state. Second, whether tribal retailers, manufacturers, and wholesalers must comply with state requirements (such as licensing) in order to be considered “lawfully operating” pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 376a. Finally, whether the definition of “person” under 15 U.S.C.
§ 375(10) applies only to delivery sellers, and not wholesalers and manufacturers of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

Tribes who wish to attend and/or participate in the December 14 meeting should RSVP to on or before December 9, 2011. Tribes may also submit written comments via email to, or by mail to James Ficaretta, Program Manager, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; 99 New York Avenue, NE; Mailstop 6N-602; Washington, DC 20226, or by fax to (202) 648-9741.

Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding PACT Act provisions or the upcoming ATF meeting.