California’s government and campaign ethics watchdog appointed a new top cop Tuesday.
Galena West becomes the Fair Political Practices Commission’s chief of enforcement after spending a decade as senior counsel in the enforcement division. West replaces Gary Winuk, who spent five years as the enforcement chief before resigning his post in February to pursue other opportunities.
In her time at the FPPC, West helped prosecute several high-profile cases, including campaign money laundering and shadow lobbying, the agency said.
“Galena’s knowledge of the (Political Reform) Act and her unparalleled experience overseeing many of the most challenging cases demonstrates her commitment to promoting the public’s trust in the political process through tough but fair enforcement of serious violations,” FPPC Chairwoman Jodi Remke said in a statement announcing the promotion. “I’m confident Galena will reinforce California’s role as a national leader in the regulation of governmental ethics.”
West, who earned her law degree from UC Davis, previously worked as a law clerk for the Franchise Tax Board, Attorney General’s Office and U.S. Attorney’s Office.
She is credited with streamlining the FPPC’s enforcement of minor cases, allowing officials there to focus their energy on more substantial violations of state political ethics laws. Remke said her skills will allow the agency “to focus on prosecuting the more egregious behavior and serious violations.”
The FPPC also said the general counsel post previously occupied by Zackery Morazzini, who left shortly before Winuk, has been filled by Hyla Wagner, a senior counsel in the agency’s legal division and former director of policy analysis at the New York City Campaign Finance Board.