President Barack Obama struck the right chord by nominating California Fair Political Practices Commission Chairwoman Ann Ravel, along with Virginia attorney Lee E. Goodman, a Republican, to the Federal Election Commission.
Ravel has shown herself to be a determined defender of the public's right to know who contributes to political campaigns, and an advocate for readily accessible campaign finance information. She also has shown wisdom in avoiding getting bogged down by trivial matters.
She has jettisoned FPPC rules that focus on picayune matters. She also has sought to focus on high- impact cases.
Under her leadership, the commission sued to get at the source of an $11 million donation that flowed into California by way of three different nonprofit groups in Virginia and Arizona. The investigation continues into the money laundering.
The Federal Election Commission has been in a state of paralysis for a decade. Obama has failed to make the commission a priority, having nominated only one FEC commissioner, labor lawyer John Sullivan, who withdrew his name in 2010 after Senate Republicans blocked his confirmation.
By nominating Goodman, a Republican attorney from Virginia, along with Ravel, Obama ought to be able to persuade the Senate to confirm both nominees.
In 2012, federal candidates and independent committees raised and spent $6 billion. Spending might not hit that level in 2014. But billions will be spent. The Senate would do well to quickly to confirm Ravel and Goodman, giving them time to prepare for the deluge that will hit in 2014.