Ann M. Ravel

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Ann M. Ravel
Ann Ravel.jpg
Chair of the Federal Election Commission
In office
January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015
Preceded byLee E. Goodman
Succeeded byMatthew S. Petersen
Member of the Federal Election Commission
In office
October 25, 2013 – March 1, 2017
Nominated byBarack Obama
Preceded byCynthia L. Bauerly
Succeeded byVacant
Personal details
BornNew York City
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Stephen Ravel
Alma materHastings Law School, UC Berkeley

Ann M. Ravel was a Democratic Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission (FEC),[1] an independent regulatory agency created by Congress to administer and enforce campaign finance law.[2]

Ravel was appointed by President Obama on June 21, 2013, and, after unanimous confirmation by the United States Senate, took office on October 25, 2013.[3] She was Chair of the Commission for 2015, and Vice Chair in 2014.[4] Ravel announced her resignation from the commission on February 19, 2017, effective on March 1, 2017. Ravel is currently a Professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.[5]

Ann Ravel is currently a Candidate for California State Senate in District 15 (2020).


Ravel received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She lives in Los Gatos, California with her husband, Stephen, an independent adoption attorney. She has three children, two granddaughters and one grandson.

Political career[edit]

Ann Ravel is currently a Candidate for California State Senate in District 15. She was previously served as Chair of the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) and led the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

Prior to joining the FEC, Ravel was appointed by California Governor Jerry Brown in February 2011 to serve as the Chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).[6] At the FPPC, Ravel oversaw the regulation of campaign finance, lobbyist registration and reporting, and ethics and conflicts of interest related to officeholders and public employees. In Ravel’s most significant case as Chair, the FPPC pursued a year-long investigation into the methods used by donors who seek to influence political campaigns by anonymous methods. In October 2013, the FPPC fined the Center to Protect Patient Rights and Americans for Responsible Leadership $1 million for forwarding $15 million in "dark money" contributions to a California committee without disclosing the source of those contributions.[7] Ravel testified about the case before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee considering the issue of nondisclosure by political groups on April 30, 2014.[8] While at the FPPC, Ravel sought to leverage technology to "enhance efficiency, improve governance and repair the relationship between the public and their government."[9] To that end, the FPPC adopted regulations to allow political contributions to be made by text message[10] and created an online, searchable database of California public officials’ Statements of Economic Interests.[11] During Ravel’s tenure, the FPPC also released a mobile phone application to track gifts received by public officials[12] and held a hackathon to explore creative options to better disclose the Agency’s public data.[13] As Chair of the FPPC, Ravel created the Regulation Clarification Project, an effort to clarify and streamline California regulations.[14] This project was designed to make the law more understandable to the public, promote easier and less onerous compliance for state and local officials, and ensure that the regulations complied with the governing statutes and courts decisions.[15] Among other changes, the FPPC created guides to analyze gift laws and reorganized the regulations by topic.[16] During her tenure at the FPPC, she established the States Unified Network (SUN) Center, a nonpartisan group of state and local jurisdictions promoting transparency in campaign finance.[17] The group shares enforcement, litigation, and campaign finance data through a public website, which provides nationwide disclosure and aids in enforcement.[18]

Before joining the FPPC, Ravel was Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Torts and Consumer Litigation in the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice.[19][20] She also worked as an attorney in the Santa Clara County Counsel's Office, ultimately serving as the appointed County Counsel from 1998 until 2009. Ravel represented the County and its elected officials, provided advice on the state Political Reform Act, initiated programs in elder abuse litigation,[21] educational rights,[22] and consumer litigation[23] on behalf of the Santa Clara County government and the community, and joined a group of California municipal attorneys suing to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.[24]

Ravel has served as an elected Governor on the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California,[25] a member of the Judicial Council of California,[26] and Chair of the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation.[27] Ravel received the Professional Woman of Achievement Award from the San Jose Mercury News and the Commission on the Status of Women in 1980, the Elizabeth Ent Award for her contributions to law and justice in 1995, and the Circle of Service Achievement Award from the California State Association of Counties in 2004.[28] In 2007, the State Bar of California recognized Ravel’s contributions to public service, naming her Public Attorney of the Year.[29] In 2014, she was named as a California Attorney of the Year by California Lawyer magazine for her contributions to Government law.[30]

On October 24, 2014, Ravel called for "a reexamination of the commission's approach to the internet and other emerging technologies..." "The suggestion on its face should have been non-controversial: 'As a Commission, we need to consider the changing role of technology in our elections and recognize how technology is changing our politics. For that reason, next year, I will bring together technologists, social entrepreneurs, policy wonks, politicos, and activists—from across the spectrum—to discuss new and emerging technologies and how the Commission’s current approach may or may not fit with future innovations.'" Then-FEC chairman, Lee Goodman, "characterized the suggestion as an attempt to regulate speech."[31]

In May 2015, Ravel told the New York Times that it is unlikely that the FEC will be able to regulate the coming 2016 presidential election. "The likelihood of the laws being enforced is slim," she told The New York Times. "I never want to give up, but I’m not under any illusions. People think the FEC is dysfunctional. It’s worse than dysfunctional."[32]


  1. ^ "Democrat member of Federal Election Commission to make early exit: NYT". Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Mark Potter. Reuters. February 19, 2017. Retrieved February 19, 2017.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ "Biographical Information of FEC Commissioner Ann M. Ravel". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  3. ^ "Senate confirms Obama's FEC nominees". Politico. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  4. ^ "Biographical Information of FEC Commissioner Ann M. Ravel". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  5. ^ "Ann Ravel | Berkeley Law". Berkeley Law. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  6. ^ "Former Santa Clara County Counsel Ann Ravel to chair state's campaign finance watchdog agency". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  7. ^ "California fines groups $16 million for funneling money to campaigns". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  8. ^ "California Campaign Finance Case Echoes Despite Koch Denials of Any Involvement". Bloomberg BNA. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  9. ^ "New Law Opens Door into the Financial Dealings of Public Officials". PublicCEO. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  10. ^ "State panel allows campaign contributions by text message". LA Times. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  11. ^ "State political watchdog agency seeks to expand searchable online conflict of interest database". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  12. ^ "Gift Tracking Mobile App". FPPC. Archived from the original on July 4, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  13. ^ "Unlocking New Value from Government Data". Code for America. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  14. ^ "FPPC Update- New Regulations and Other Developments" (PDF). League of California Cities. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  15. ^ "New Gift Regulations for California, Finally". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  16. ^ "Regulation Clarification Project: Summary of April 14, April 21, and June 09, 2011 Meetings" (PDF). FPPC. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 7, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  17. ^ "States out to expose campaign-finance abuses: SUN Center could aid enforcement". Washington Times. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  18. ^ "SUN Center Website". Archived from the original on April 26, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  19. ^ "Assistant Attorney General Tony West Announces New Members to Civil Division's Senior Leadership". Department of Justice. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  20. ^ "Ann Ravel Joins U.S. Justice Department". Palo Alto Online. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  21. ^ "Santa Clara County Counsel: Financial Abuse Specialist Team". County of Santa Clara. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  22. ^ "Educational Rights Project". Santa Clara County Counsel. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  23. ^ "Lead paint lawsuit: Billion-dollar ruling in Santa Clara County-led suit against manufacturers". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  24. ^ "News Release: 2009-03-02 A Public Sector Consensus for Marriage Equality". City and County of San Francisco. Archived from the original on August 30, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  25. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". White House. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  26. ^ "AP Interview: Campaign watchdog focuses on judges". Deseret News. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  27. ^ "AP Interview: Campaign watchdog focuses on judges". Deseret News. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  28. ^ "County Counsel Ann Miller Ravel Named 2007 Public Lawyer of the Year" (PDF). Santa Clara County. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  29. ^ "2007 Public Lawyer of the Year". State Bar of California. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  30. ^ "California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year". California Lawyer Magazine. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  31. ^ "Chair of the Federal Election Commission: Who Is Ann Ravel?". AllGov. May 17, 2015. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  32. ^ "F.E.C. Can't Curb 2016 Election Abuse, Commission Chief Says". New York Times. February 5, 2015. Retrieved May 18, 2015.

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