FEC Chair Suggests Congress Could Force Political Parties To Nominate More Female Candidates

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Fresh on the heels of a controversial “women in politics” forum held last week, the Democratic chair of the Federal Election Commission is suggesting that Congress could pass laws forcing political parties to nominate more female candidates for public office.

Ann Ravel, an Obama appointee, was asked in an interview with The New York Times what if anything the FEC could do to foster gender parity.

“I don’t think it’s within our role to be able to do regulations about it, but we do make recommendations to Congress every year about potential legislation,” Ravel said.

“There may be things we could, if we were so inclined, recommend. A potential way to achieve parity would be to encourage parties that are regulated by Congress to include some parity, or more efforts to search out women candidates.”

Ravel’s idea is somewhat radical, given that political parties are private associations and that the FEC’s purpose is to regulate political spending, not meddle in electoral outcomes.

According to CNS News, the panelists at last week’s forum, who were mostly Democrats and liberals, blamed a number of factors on the dearth of women in elected office. Adrienne Kimmell, the executive director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, suggested that increasing the number of women in politics would require a complete overhaul of the economic system. She said that system “doesn’t value women’s work in the same way it does men’s.” (RELATED: Democratic FEC Chair Accused Of Playing Favorites With Forum Promoting Women In Politics)

Darren Rosenblum, a law professor at Pace University, suggested the U.S. should follow other countries in implementing a quota on the number of women holding political office.

In her interview with The Times, Ravel shot down the quota idea.

“We’re not going to have quotas,” she told The Times, adding that “a number of things aren’t constitutionally appropriate in the United States.”

“But asking parties, because of their special status in our political system, to have more of a focus on that would not be out of line.”

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