Tuesday, September 24, 2013
FPPC and Former JNE Chair Ann Ravel Confirmed to Fill FEC Vacancy
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The U.S. Senate yesterday unanimously confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Ann Ravel, to the Federal Elections Commission.
The Sacramento Bee reported on its Capitol Alert blog that senators had given their approval to Ravel, chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission and a former chair of the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, along with attorney Lee Goodman.
The FEC is a six-member body, divided equally between Democrats and Republicans, that enforces the Federal Election Campaigns Act. Ravel is a Democrat and Goodman a Republican, and they are the first commissioners confirmed by the Senate during the Obama presidency.
Ellen L. Weintraub, chair of the Federal Election Commission, told the Center for Public Integrity she hoped the pair would be sworn in as soon as possible, the center reported on its website. Ravel told the center in an email that she was committed to remaining at the FPPC for another month.
Gov. Jerry Brown, who appointed her FPPC chair two years ago, will appoint her successor, whose term will expire in 2015.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., chair of the Rules and Administration Committee that unanimously approved the nominations last week, praised the commissioners-designate in a statement.
“Lee Goodman and Ann Ravel will be outstanding commissioners and bring a wealth of experience to the Federal Election Commission,” Schumer said. “When they’re sworn in, the FEC will finally have all six of its seats filled, and the Commission will continue its important work as the independent federal watchdog for our nation’s campaign finance laws.”
Ravel drew both praise and condemnation when she moved just before last November’s election to determine whether the state’s Political Reform Act had been violated by a mysterious group that made a last-minute $11 million donation to a committee opposing the governor’s successful proposal to increase taxes and supporting an unsuccessful measure to require unions to obtain written consent from their individual members in order to make political donations. The committee claimed that Ravel had prejudged the matter by making statements, including on Twitter, on the need for vigorous pre-election enforcement of the law.
Ravel rejected such criticism in an interview last week with the Bee.
“If you don’t have the ability and the gumption to actually enforce your laws that are significant and go to the heart of the trust prior to an election, then you might as well not be in business,” Ravel told the newspaper.
The FEC has been a contentious body, with a majority of its members holding over after their terms expired and intense disagreement between the Democratic and Republican commissioners over a number of matters, including a proposal by GOP members to make it more difficult for the commission to cooperate with the Justice Department in investigating allegations of FECA violations.
Ravel has headed the FPPC, which enforces the state’s campaign finance laws, since 2011. She served from 2009 to 2011 as deputy assistant U.S. attorney general, overseeing tort and consumer litigation in the Civil Division of the Department of Justice.
Before joining the DOJ, she spent 33 years in the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office, the last 11 as county counsel.
She was a member of the Judicial Council of California from 2002 to 2005, and served one full term plus two short appointed stints on the Board of Governors, in addition to her service on the JNE commission.
Ravel was named by the State Bar of California as the Public Attorney of the Year in 2007 for her contributions to public service. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law.
Ravel will replace Commissioner Cynthia Brauerly, who resigned in February. Her term will expire April 30, 2017.
Goodman is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of LeClairRyan. He was an aide to Virginia’s then-governor, Republican Jim Gilmore, from 1999 to 2002, worked in the Virginia attorney general’s office and at the D.C. firm now known as Wiley Rein LLP, and was legal counsel to then-Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign last year.
He succeeds Don McGahn, a holdover member and former FEC vice-chair, who resigned last week. Goodman’s term will expire April 30, 2015.
Copyright 2013, Metropolitan News Company