San Francisco A split California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Indian tribes, some of the state's biggest political donors, are bound by campaign-finance disclosure rules.
In a 4-3 ruling, the 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 more than 100 tribes in California, some flush with casino revenues, are major campaign donors that have reported giving at least $200 million to candidate and ballot measure campaigns in the past decade. Most already disclose donations of at least $10,000 a year, in compliance with state regulations.
The tribes sued by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to comply with disclosure rules argued they are sovereign governments, immune from most state intervention, including lawsuits to enforce state laws.