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Editorial: California tribes must play by the rules

"Sometimes it's hard to tell the meaning of a court decision, but not in this case.

California's right to protect its political system from corruption trumps tribal sovereign immunity. That is the essence of a sensible ruling handed down by a bare majority of the state Supreme Court last week.

The decision sends a powerful and necessary message to those who would participate in our political system, but deliberately flout the laws designed to govern that participation and protect the integrity of state politics.

The majority opinion, written by Justice Ming Chin, means that wealthy gambling Indian tribes who have contributed tens of millions of dollars to political campaigns in California over the last decade must report those contributions just like all other players in the state's political system. Tribes must also report when they hire lobbyists to influence governmental decisions -- again, just like all others who participate in the state's political process."

Get the Story:
Editorial: A victory for fairness (The Sacramento Bee 12/27)

California Supreme Court Decision:
Agua Caliente Band etc. v. Super. Ct (December 21, 2006)

Lower Court Decisions:
FPPC V. Santa Rosa Indian Community (October 27, 2004) | Agua Caliente Band v. FPPC (March 3, 2004)

Relevant Links:
Fair Political Practices Commission -

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