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Indian Sovereignty Meets Disclosure Laws

October 03, 2002

Re "State Sues Tribe Over Reporting of Gifts," Sept. 27: I have been an ardent champion of tribal autonomy in the U.S. But I find certain inconsistencies when tribes try to overreach in justifying their "sovereignty." In the case of not acknowledging their obligation to report election contributions to the Fair Political Practices Commission, I contend that they are indeed asserting sovereignty and therefore should be denied the option to contribute, since they are tantamount to a foreign country. Can't have it both ways.

However, keep in mind that all individual Indians--and that, of course, includes the officers of a tribe who vote to support candidates--are citizens, and each can make a financial contribution. I suspect that the Political Reform Act of 1974 does apply to tribes, but I am neither an attorney nor a judge.

Imre Sutton

Fullerton

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