FEC Commissioner: U.S. Political System Only Benefits White Men

Ann Ravel
Ann Ravel / AP

Ann Ravel, former chair and current member of the Federal Election Commission, appeared at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Conference in Ottawa last October and said that the United States political system only benefits wealthy white men. The video, however, was just uploaded January 22.

Ravel, who until days ago chaired the commission, criticized the system by saying is set up in such a way that makes it difficult for women and minorities to succeed.

"There’s no question that the difficulty of being a candidate–even at the primary stage because of the cost–has been an impediment to women and minorities," Ravel said. "We have unusually low statistics about women and minority participation in public office. "

"Ninety percent of elected officials at all levels of government in the United States are white men, which is kind of shocking when you consider 55 percent of the voters are women–and, of course, we are a much more diverse society," she said. "My home state of California has 51 percent Latinos, but the elected officials do not represent that society."

Ravel went on to chastise super PACs by saying that they are dominated by white men who only give money to other white males, a sentiment she has made multiple times in the past.

"I think that if we look at super PACs, super PACs are primarily run–there was an article in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago about the 158 families, and family businesses, primarily run by white males that have given half of the money that’s been given in the Republican primary this year. So those super PACs that are primarily white males give to white men."

"The number of women who are in that inner circle–the high volume, big money donors–is negligible, one or two," she said. "Women in general, about 30 percent, are contributing to campaigns and I think it creates a disincentive for women and minorities to even run. Once they run and once they get into the race, and go after small donors and the likes, they tend to do as well as other candidates."

Despite this claim, Hillary Clinton has received $2.2 million in help from outside groups to date this election cycle. In addition, a record number of women currently serve in Congress.