CLBR #295: Ann Ravel on Fixing Our Broken Campaign System

Fixing A Broken Campaign System

From Dark Money to Online Ads

Ann Ravel – Former Chair Federal Elections Commission


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In 2012, Ann Ravel was Chair of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission and joined us to talk about her idea to require disclosure of payments made to bloggers by political campaigns.

Now she returns after resigning as Chair of the Federal Elections Commission.  Before resigning, she issued a report (see below) that due to the FEC’s dysfunction “major violations are swept under the rug and the resulting dark money has left Americans uninformed about the sources of campaign spending.”

While Chair, Ravel argued that “a re-examination of the Commission’s approach to the Internet and other emerging technologies is long overdue.”  The proposal, which was blocked by Republican Commissioners, triggered a slew of death threats and hate mail.

in response to the 2016 Russian meddling, Ravel recently argued that:

To prevent another attack, and provide voters with information about who is behind efforts to sway their votes, we should adopt policies mandating the disclosure of the source of advertisements. Social media platforms posting paid advertisement should label them and take steps to verify the ad’s true source.

The Federal Elections Commission, however, has elected not to act before the 2018 election.

Ann Ravel


Berkeley Law / New America CA   @AnnMRavel 

Ann M. Ravel was nominated to the Federal Election Commission by President Barack Obama on June 21, 2013. After her appointment received the unanimous consent of the United States Senate, Ms. Ravel joined the Commission on October 25, 2013. She served as Chair of the Commission for 2015 and Vice Chair for 2014 before leaving in 2017.

Previously, Ms. Ravel served as Chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), to which Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. appointed her. At the FPPC, Ms. Ravel oversaw the regulation of campaign finance, lobbyist registration and reporting, and ethics and conflicts of interest related to officeholders and public employees. During her tenure at the FPPC, Ms. Ravel was instrumental in the creation of the States’ Unified Network (SUN) Center, a web-based center for sharing information on campaign finance.

Before joining the FPPC, Ms. Ravel served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Torts and Consumer Litigation in the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice. Ms. Ravel also worked as an attorney in the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office, ultimately serving as the appointed County Counsel from 1998 until 2009. Ms. Ravel represented the County and its elected officials, provided advice on the state Political Reform Act, and initiated groundbreaking programs in elder abuse litigation, educational rights, and consumer litigation on behalf of the Santa Clara County government and the community.

Ms. Ravel has served as an elected Governor on the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California, a member of the Judicial Council of the State of California, and Chair of the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation. In 2014, she was named a California Attorney of the Year by California Lawyer magazine for her work in Government law, and in 2007, the State Bar of California named Ms. Ravel Public Attorney of the Year for her contributions to public service.

Ms. Ravel received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Ms. Ravel is the daughter of a Latin American immigrant mother and an American father. She was raised in Latin America before her family settled in the San Francisco Bay area, which she considers home.


Darieth Chisolm, 50 Shades of Silence



Today our program coincides with the planned 17-minute protest by students nationwide against gun violence.


In Memoriam

Shout Outs

Bravo to #Irish Stand.

Good luck Friars and Rams!