FEC Ruling Favors Tribes

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The Federal Elections Commission voted 4 to 2 to allow the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and other tribes with identical circumstances to operate a business as a federal contractor without the tribe itself subject to the contractor's designation.

Companies are limited in what they can contribute to political campaigns. Tribes, however, have the same status as a "person" under federal campaign finance laws and have less stringent limitations.

The decision comes at a time when many tribes are generating millions of dollars annually with casinos and looking to invest in other more traditional business ventures.

The Mississippi Choctaws established the company IKBI in June 2004 as a for-profit "separate corporation" and invested $468,000 in it.