Democrat Commissioner Resignation Creates Opportunity for Change at FEC

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel resigned from her post on Sunday, effective March 1.

Commissioner Ravel posted her resignation letter on Medium, saying, “Our campaign finance system should promote citizen engagement and participation in the political process instead of disenchantment with democracy.”

Although she has championed citizen participation, Ravel frequently criticized free speech on the internet. The FEC Commissioner even proposed new regulations to stifle political speech of websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and the Drudge Report.

David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, told Breitbart News, “Commissioner Ravel came from California which has a different setup than the FEC. California’s electoral board is run by the governor, entirely partisan. The FEC was enacted after Watergate, and set up as a bipartisan commissioner to avoid partisan control over electoral law.”

An anonymous FEC observer said that “Ravel has essentially turned her FEC office into a constituent services program for California Democrats.”

Keating explained that with Commissioner Ravel’s resignation there is much opportunity for change at the FEC. He said, “Since all of the remaining FEC Commissioners have expired terms President Trump has an enormous opportunity to reshape campaign finance. Since there cannot be more than three commissioners of any party on the board, President Trump can have the discretion to nominate future Commissioners that are more receptive to free speech.”

The Senate only requires a simple majority to confirm executive agency appointees. The FEC will remain bipartisan even with President Trump’s nomination, but Trump can nominate commissioners more favorable to free speech.

President Trump ran on “draining the swamp,” and David Keating said that Trump could easily “clear the morass of regulations surrounding electoral law.” He added, “One way to drain the swamp would be to make the rules behind political speech clear and straightforward. Clear and simple rules could ensure that freedom of expression on the Internet remains unregulated.”

Concise rules leave less room for future FEC administrations to target conservative groups such as the Tea Party, which was targeted by Lois Lerner of the IRS.

President Trump nominated Donald McGahn, a former FEC Commissioner, as his White House counsel. Keating said that McGahn has done “a terrific job” as FEC commissioner, and would be instrumental in providing sound advice for the future of the Federal Election Commission. McGahn said that Trump is, “a bold leader committed to draining the swamp in Washington and restoring economic prosperity and security.”


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