A case currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenges the applicability of the federal Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act (“CCTA”) to tribal entities.  The case is Ho-Chunk, Inc. v. Sessions.

Ho-Chuck is a tribal entity, and together with certain affiliates, it manufactures, distributes and sells cigarettes.  After the Department of Justice notified the tribal entities that it intended to inspect and copy their tobacco records pursuant to the CCTA, Ho-Chunk objected, providing information regarding only non-native sales.  Ho-Chunk took the position that the CCTA’s record-keeping requirements were inapplicable to tribal businesses.

The trial court ruled in favor of the federal government.  The court found that, although the CCTA exempts tribal governments from certain reporting requirements, the CCTA’s recordkeeping requirements are fully applicable to tribal entities. 

The case is now pending before a federal appellate court, and a decision is expected later this year.