The former Federal Election Commission member who sought to regulate the Drudge Report and other online political speech is running to represent a district that encompasses Silicon Valley in the California Senate, according to a Monday report.
“I care a lot about California, and I want to do things that are in the public interest,” former FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel said in an interview with the San Jose Spotlight. “I’m interested only in doing what’s good for the people. I’ve been doing so much in the area of campaign finance and it’s influenced me a lot.” (RELATED: Deep State At FEC Quits: ‘Looks Like The Republic Might Survive’)
Ravel served on the FEC from 2013-17, and gained a reputation for pushing new rules to regulate online political speech. Republicans said the rules were aimed at requiring anyone who posted political content online — including on social media and on websites such as the Drudge Report — to disclose their activity to the feds. She slammed the agency as “dysfunctional” toward the end of her tenure and proposed reducing the number of commissioners who were allowed to serve.
Ravel maintained a close working relationship with President Obama, and she was briefly considered a possible replacement for then-Attorney General Kamala Harris. Former Gov. Jerry Brown ultimately appointed Xavier Becerra to the position instead.
Ravel has continued to push online regulation since she left the commission. “We know that there’s a lot of campaigning that’s moved to the internet, whether it’s through fake news or just outright advertising,” she said in a 2017 speech at UC Berkeley. “There is almost no regulation of this … the disclosure that we expect as to who is behind campaigns is not going to exist soon.” (RELATED: FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel: It’s Not My Role To Apply Constitutional Principles)
In her interview Monday, Ravel said she was more optimistic about enacting her agenda in California than in Washington. “To be in D.C. and to see how public policy is generally reflective of corporate interests, wealthy interests and doesn’t reflect the people … I know that California isn’t like that for the most part.”
Ravel will compete against at least three other candidates to replace retiring incumbent Sen. Jim Beall, who is also a Democrat.