Thursday, December 21, 2006
The California Fair Political Practices Commission is applauding a state Supreme Court ruling on Thursday that Indian tribes are bound by campaign-finance disclosure rules. The justices ruled 4-3 to uphold a lower court decision that the state agency can enforce such rules on tribes. Marianne Russ reports.
FPPC Chair Liane Randolph says tribes give millions to candidates and ballot measures and they lobby quite a bit. She says this will ensure there’s sunshine throughout the California political process:
Randolph: We think it’s an important recognition that all of the players in the political system need to play with the same set of rules.
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians brought the case – arguing their sovereign status exempted them from the campaign finance disclosure rules. Many tribes, however comply voluntarily. Howard Dickstein is an attorney who represents a number of tribes across the state. He says it’s a significant ruling:
Dickstein: It’s a very limited exception but it’s going to have a lot of ramifications in other lawsuits, as plaintiffs seek to make their cases seem similar.
The case is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.