Former FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel left the FEC last week in a storm of her usual rhetoric about the FEC's dysfunction and the woes of entities spending money to engage in political speech. But as RNLA member Paul Jossey points out, she never understood the role of the FEC:
She misunderstood both her and the commission’s role. And when she couldn’t mold the FEC into a federal version of the state agency she previously headed, she lashed out in ways that did little but aid her self-promotion and increase tension. . . .
In Washington, Ravel tried to remake the FEC into . . . [a] bureaucrat-dominated colossal that overreached, bullied, and pursued “social goals” in the name of democratic integrity. . . . Congress created the FEC shortly after Watergate with six commissioners and barred more than three commissioners from one political party. It rightly worried about partisan control over an agency that would regulate political campaigns. Without the FEC’s even format, partisan agendas can run wild. . . .
But Ravel bitterly complained the format enabled intransigent Republican commissioners to cause gridlock. She cited statistics showing increasing ties on enforcement matters. Republicans slice the numbers differently. Regardless, tie votes aren’t nefarious attempts to skirt the agency’s mission. They represent the agency working as planned where actions must be taken on a bipartisan basis. . . .
Ravel’s complaint about colleagues “thwarting” and “obstructing” the law to produce these ties is especially rich. She blatantly ignored the FEC’s own internet-speech regulations because she didn’t like them. . . . The commission’s lack of control irks Ravel who sees cyberspace as one more place the government can lord over. Bloggers in California became YouTube videos at the FEC.
RNLA member Steve Klein also wrote about Ravel's speech on leaving the agency, in which she attacked her Republican colleagues and continued to misrepresent statements by former FEC Commissioner and current White House Counsel Don McGahn:
Ravel, a Democratic appointee, comes off a tumultuous time at the FEC, a tumult for which she takes no responsibility. In her opening remarks this afternoon, Ravel argued that the ethical duties of attorneys were one reason the Republican commissioners—with whom she quit honestly engaging only “about a week” after arriving at the FEC—were obligated to agree with her about campaign finance law and enforcement.
More ominously, she charged these commissioners did not “uphold the highest professional and ethical values” as attorneys, claiming Republican commissioners cited cases or law in their arguments that “don’t exist” or stood for propositions different than those claimed. “They don’t cite the part that’s actually applicable to the matter,” she fumed. Not offering a single example of this, Ravel instead moved on to state [a selective quote from then-Commissioner McGahn, misrepresenting his correct position].
Unfortunately, we have not heard the last from former Commissioner Ravel, but at least she no longer has the power to vote to regulate political speech based on her policy ideals instead of on campaign finance law and FEC policy. We can hope that the next Democrat FEC commissioner better understands the role of the agency in enforcing existing law and his or her role as a commissioner in working with, and not attacking, his or her colleagues.