FEC chair steps down, begs Trump for serious campaign finance reform

In a very public resignation announcing her departure from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Ann Ravel, one of three Democratic members, notified President Trump Sunday of her intention to leave the panel on Wednesday, March 1.

An Obama appointee, Ms. Ravel served as chair of the commission in 2015 and will resign from the FEC two months ahead of the expiration of her term, which runs out in April.

In candid language, Ms. Ravel cited grounds for her early departure the landmark 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision, which, Ravel says, leaves our election framework “awash in unlimited, often dark, money.”

After reminding President Trump of his campaign rhetoric denouncing excessive influence of the wealthy, Ravel issued an impassioned plea to Mr. Trump to emphasize campaign finance reform as a principle of his term.

Asking the president to fixate on a careful review of Citizens United and consideration of public financing of elections, Ravel continued:

“Our campaign finance system should promote citizen engagement and participation in the political process instead of disenchantment with democracy. People from all walks of life should be able to run for office without having to seek out wealthy donors, or be wealthy donors themselves, to win.”

Although unmentioned in her resignation letter, Ravel’s tenure closes following a report she authored in early February decrying excessive partisanship on the FEC’s six-member panel and describing enforcement of laws as intractably blocked by the panel.

In her findings titled:  “Dysfunction and Deadlock: The Enforcement Crisis at the Federal Election Commission Reveals the Unlikelihood of Draining the Swamp” Ravel states:

“A bloc of three commissioners “routinely thwarts, obstructs, and delays action on the very campaign finance laws its members were appointed to administer.”

Ravel also revealed her analysis showed that since Citizens United, the panel has reduced fines, failed to enforce transparency rules and rejected calls to probe major alleged violations.

Ravel, who once served as California’s Fair Political Practices Commission before accepting her role with the FEC, did not announce her future plans.


[Salon] [Medium] [Photo courtesy AP via Politico]