California€™s political watchdog agency is suing one of the state€™s wealthiest and most influential Indian tribes.
The case is an important test of the reach of tribal sovereignty. The Fair Political Practices Commission alleges that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is violating campaign finance reporting laws.
The tribe, which operates two casinos in and near Palm Springs, argues those laws don´t apply to it because it´s a sovereign entity. More and more gambling-rich tribes are among the top political donors, and state governments worry about their ability to effectively monitor money in politics.
The FPPC alleges the Agua Calientes was late in disclosing more than $8 million in donations to candidates and causes between 1998 and 2002. The first hearing in the case is set for Wednesday in Sacramento County Superior Court.