Feb. 15, 2018: SACRAMENTO BEE - Legal experts to brief sexual harassment panel at California Capitol

February 15, 2018

By Angela Hart

Ann Ravel, an elections expert who resigned from the Federal Election Commission last year citing partisan gridlock and dysfunction in the agency, will testify today at the Legislature’s joint committee on sexual harassment prevention.

Ravel, a Democrat who also formerly served as chairwoman of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, was invited for her expertise on proper enforcement of government rules.

Now a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s School of Law, Ravel’s resignation letter addressed to President Donald Trump last March provides insight into perspective she could bring to the sexual harassment hearings in the Capitol.

“Commissioners who will carry out the mandates of the law should be appointed,” she said of the Federal Election Commission, earlier criticizing the agency’s Republican bloc for ignoring violations and more broadly, for failing to enforce campaign finance laws.

She was criticized by some at the time for not understanding the role of the agency.

Her testimony will guide the California Legislature as it drafts new policies and procedures governing how they investigate sexual harassment claims and protect employees who bring forward complaints.

Additional hearings are planned this spring.

“Over the next month, we’ll be holding frequent hearings because the task before us is both urgent, and in need of thorough examination,” said Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, who chairs the joint Senate-Assembly panel. “Our goal is to provide...the information we need to craft solutions that are both innovative and durable. This is our chance to establish an effective new model and we’re determined to get it right.”

Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, said in a statement that the work underway is part of a long-term effort to change the culture at the Capitol, and ensure the safety of lawmakers, lobbyists and others.


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