FEC commissioner who fought to regulate political speech on internet resigns

Ann Ravel, a Democrat commissioner on the FEC who infamously tried to censor political speech on the internet, has resigned.

In 2014, Ravel called for "a reexamination of the commission's approach to the internet and other emerging technologies."  This was widely interpreted to mean she wanted the FEC to redefine what constitutes political speech on the internet to allow the FEC to regulate it.  Blogs and news sites that specifically advocated for a federal candidate would be treated as adjuncts to that campaign and subject to FEC donation limits.

Thankfully, all three GOP members of the commission blocked the scheme.

Ravel rarely bothered to show up for FEC meetings in the last couple of years – except when she wanted the commission to approve her travel to exotic places to "monitor" elections.

Washington Free Beacon:

Ravel has also been a no-show from FEC public meetings in recent months, phoning it in from California after being passed up for the attorney general spot in the state. During one meeting, Ravel seemed so distant that the Democratic chair of the commission asked if she was awake.

Despite Ravel's absence from the meetings, she attempted to call for a special meeting that would allow a vote on whether or not she could attend a foreign-funded junket to Ecuador to observe their elections.

After being contacted by the Washington Free Beacon seeking comment on the demand, Ravel’s special counsel said that Ravel had reversed her decision to participate in the trip. If Ravel did not rescind her demand and the trip were approved, she would currently be in Ecuador.

"Ravel had become a frequent no-show at Commission meetings since late last year, phoning into 4 public meetings (one from a train) and completely skipping two executive sessions in January," a source close to the Commission said in an emailed statement. "That did not stop her, however, from requesting a special meeting to obtain Commission approval to travel to Ecuador, at foreign expense, a request she later withdrew after the Free Beacon wrote about the matter."

By law, President Trump must name a registered Democrat to fill the post.  Tradition dictates that Senate Democrats recommend a name for the president's approval.  But Trump is not required to follow the Dems' recommendation.

But conservatives who think Trump will name someone to their liking may be disappointed.  While campaigning, the president made it clear he thinks money from big donors is not good for the electoral process.  He didn't come out and say he supports campaign finance reform, but it is likely he would take a far more favorable view of at least some regulation of big contributions than a traditional Republican.

Ann Ravel, a Democrat commissioner on the FEC who infamously tried to censor political speech on the internet, has resigned.

In 2014, Ravel called for "a reexamination of the commission's approach to the internet and other emerging technologies."  This was widely interpreted to mean she wanted the FEC to redefine what constitutes political speech on the internet to allow the FEC to regulate it.  Blogs and news sites that specifically advocated for a federal candidate would be treated as adjuncts to that campaign and subject to FEC donation limits.

Thankfully, all three GOP members of the commission blocked the scheme.

Ravel rarely bothered to show up for FEC meetings in the last couple of years – except when she wanted the commission to approve her travel to exotic places to "monitor" elections.

Washington Free Beacon:

Ravel has also been a no-show from FEC public meetings in recent months, phoning it in from California after being passed up for the attorney general spot in the state. During one meeting, Ravel seemed so distant that the Democratic chair of the commission asked if she was awake.

Despite Ravel's absence from the meetings, she attempted to call for a special meeting that would allow a vote on whether or not she could attend a foreign-funded junket to Ecuador to observe their elections.

After being contacted by the Washington Free Beacon seeking comment on the demand, Ravel’s special counsel said that Ravel had reversed her decision to participate in the trip. If Ravel did not rescind her demand and the trip were approved, she would currently be in Ecuador.

"Ravel had become a frequent no-show at Commission meetings since late last year, phoning into 4 public meetings (one from a train) and completely skipping two executive sessions in January," a source close to the Commission said in an emailed statement. "That did not stop her, however, from requesting a special meeting to obtain Commission approval to travel to Ecuador, at foreign expense, a request she later withdrew after the Free Beacon wrote about the matter."

By law, President Trump must name a registered Democrat to fill the post.  Tradition dictates that Senate Democrats recommend a name for the president's approval.  But Trump is not required to follow the Dems' recommendation.

But conservatives who think Trump will name someone to their liking may be disappointed.  While campaigning, the president made it clear he thinks money from big donors is not good for the electoral process.  He didn't come out and say he supports campaign finance reform, but it is likely he would take a far more favorable view of at least some regulation of big contributions than a traditional Republican.

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