Calif. court rules tribes subject to state campaign laws
Thursday, March 4, 2004

In a 2-1 decision, California's 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday that tribes are subject to the state's campaign finance laws.

The Fair Political Practices Commission brought a lawsuit against the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The tribe was accused of not reporting its political activities to the state.

The tribe says it complies with the spirit of the law and publishes reports of its spending online. The tribe raised a sovereign immunity defense to the lawsuit.

The court ruled yesterday, however, that the state's "constitutional right to sue to preserve its republican form of government trumps the common law doctrine of tribal immunity." The majority agreed that neither the tribe nor Congress has waived tribal immunity, two factors that courts normally consider in cases of sovereign immunity.

Get the Story:
State Can Sue Tribes, Court Rules (The Los Angeles Times 3/4)
Username: indianz, Password: indianzcom
Court rules the state can sue tribe (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 3/4)
Court: No tribal immunity to FPPC (The Sacramento Bee 3/4)
Appeals court rules against tribe in landmark political disclosure case (Copley News Service 3/3)
State court says Calif can sue Indian tribe over campaign funds (AP 3/3)

Get the Decision:
Agua Caliente Band v. FPPC (March 3, 2004)

Relevant Links:
Fair Political Practices Commission -

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