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Calif. tribes must follow campaign-finance rules

A split California Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Indian tribes, some of the state's biggest political donors, are bound by campaign-finance disclosure rules.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The California Supreme Court has ruled that Indian tribes are bound by campaign-finance disclosure rules.

In a four-to-three ruling today, justices upheld a lower court decision that said tribes were subject to campaign-finance enforcement lawsuits from the Fair Political Practices Commission, the state agency that oversees elections

The case is significant because the state's more than 100 tribes are major campaign donors.

An estimated 200 (m) million dollars has been donated by the tribes to candidates and for ballot measure campaigns during the past decade.

Most of the tribes comply with the regulations that demand disclosure of donations of at least ten-thousand dollars a year, but it was unclear whether they would have continued if the justices had ruled differently.

The case in today's ruling was brought by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, which challenged an enforcement action from the Fair Political Practices Commission.