A Tale of Conflicting Sovereignties: The Case Against Tribal Sovereign Immunity and Federal Preemption Doctrines Preventing States’ Enforcement of Campaign Contribution Regulations on Indian Tribes

This Note will discuss whether Indian tribes can assert tribal sovereign immunity to avoid compliance with state campaign finance regulation and whether such regulations should be preempted by federal law. Tribal sovereign immunity is not an enshrined constitutional imperative; it exists only under federal common law and can be limited by the courts from blocking state suits to enforce campaign finance regulations against tribes. This Note will also argue that state campaign finance regulations should not be preempted by federal law because states have a compelling interest in protecting their political processes from corruption that outweighs tribal interests in flouting the laws. States also enjoy rights arising from the text of the U.S. Constitution under the Tenth Amendment and the Guaranty Clause, which courts should recognize to permit states to regulate tribes in the context of state campaign finance laws.