Commissioners and Executive Staff Profiles
The Governor appoints the Chair and one other Commissioner of a different political party for a term beginning February 1st after each Gubernatorial Election. The Secretary of State, Attorney General, and State Controller each appoint one Commissioner for a term beginning February 1st after each Presidential Election.
Maintaining a Non-partisan Commission
No more than three members of the Commission can be from the same political party. In the event the Attorney General, the Secretary of State and the State Controller are all members of the same political party, the State Controller selects a Commissioner from a list provided by the chair of any other political party.
Richard C. Miadich, Chair
Appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom
Term Expires on 1/31/2023
Chair Miadich was appointed by Governor Newsom to the Fair Political Practices Commission effective May 1, 2019. The Commission is responsible for regulating statewide campaign finance, governmental ethics, and lobbying activity.
Prior to his appointment to Chair, Miadich was the managing partner with Olson, Hagel & Fishburn LLP. His practice focused on litigation matters involving election and campaign finance law, education law, government and administrative law, and constitutional law. He also assisted in the firm’s political advising, primarily in areas of elections and initiatives.
Chair Miadich is a member of the California State Bar, and has litigated matters at the trial and appellate levels in California, including the California Supreme Court, and has represented clients before state administrative agencies. He has also participated in matters before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, and the United States District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California. Representing appellant pro bono, Miadich successfully briefed and argued Lee v. Keith (7th. Cir. 2006) 463 F. 3d 763, which resulted in several Illinois ballot access laws being declared unconstitutional.
Chair Miadich was an At-Large Director of the Sacramento County Bar Association Board of Directors. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Sacramento County Bar Foundation, a 501 © (3) nonprofit organization that serves as the charitable arm of the Sacramento County Bar Association. Previously, Miadich also served on the Executive Committee of the Public Law Section of the California State Bar and was the assistant editor of the State Bar’s Public Law Journal. His article “When to Run, Walk or Crawl to the Courthouse: Proper Timing of Legal Challenges to Initiative Measures” (co-authored with William B. Tunick), was published in the Spring 2007 Public Law Journal.
Chair Miadich earned his law degree from the University of California at Davis in 2002. While there, he served as a member of the U.C. Davis Law Review, externed with the California State Assembly Judiciary Committee, and participated in the school’s trial practice program. He received his Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and History from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1998.
His professional memberships include: The American Bar Association, the Sacramento County Bar Association and the California Political Attorney’s Association.
E. Dotson Wilson, Commissioner
Appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom
Term Expires on 1/31/2027
E. Dotson Wilson, 68, of Elk Grove, has been reappointed commissioner of the Fair Political Practices Commission where he has served since 2019. Wilson is retired, having served as chief clerk and parliamentarian for the California Assembly from 1992 to 2019. He was deputy chief of staff to the Speaker of the California Assembly from 1988 to 1991. Wilson earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Wilson is registered without party preference.
Elsa Ortiz, Commissioner
Appointment by Attorney General Rob Bonta
Term Expires on 1/31/2025
Until her retirement in December 2014, Ms. Ortiz worked as an attorney and policy consultant to former Presidents of the State Senate Don Perata and Darrell Steinberg on issues affecting Indian Nations. She also served as District Chief of Staff and Special Assistant to former California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer during his tenures as State Senator and Attorney General.
Ms. Ortiz earned her bachelor’s degree with honors and teaching credentials from the University of California at Berkeley and her Juris Doctor from John F. Kennedy College of Law.
She was elected in November 2006 to the AC Transit Board of Directors representing the City of Alameda and portions of Oakland and San Leandro. During her tenure on the Board, Ms. Ortiz spearheaded the development and adoption of the District’s Buy American Goods policy, advocated for fiscal reform, and works to make sure buses are a key element in the construction of a Bay Area transportation network for the 21st Century.
She served on the Transbay Joint Powers Authority Board of Directors and as Vice-Chair of the Alameda County Transportation Commission. She is a recipient of the 2018 Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) NorCal Chapter “Pioneer Award”, the 2019 COMTO National “Women Who Move the Nation Award”, the 2018 Genesis “Equity Award”, and the 2022 “Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award” from the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) San Francisco – Bay Area Chapter.
Abby Wood, Commissioner
Appointed by Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber
Term Expires on 1/31/2025
Commissioner Wood is a professor of law, political science, and public policy at the USC Gould School of Law. Her research is at the intersection of law and politics, including analysis of campaign finance law and policy. At USC, she teaches classes on campaign finance, administrative law, and analytical methods for lawyers. She has taught on a variety of subjects, including international human rights law, constitutional law, quantitative methods for political science, and comparative politics.
Prior to joining the Commission, Commissioner Wood served on the FPPC’s Digital Transparency Task Force and the Federal Bipartisan Campaign Finance Task Force. Before joining USC Gould, Wood clerked for the Honorable John T. Noonan, judge of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Wood holds a B.A. from Austin College, a JD from Harvard Law School, an MA in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
A Democrat, Commissioner Wood was appointed to the Fair Political Practices Commission by Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber.
Catharine Baker, Vice Chair
Appointed by Controller Betty Yee
Term Expires on 1/31/2025
Catharine Baker was appointed to the Fair Political Practices Commission on December 14, 2020 by California State Controller Betty Yee.
Catharine is a former California State Assemblymember who represented the 16th Assembly District from 2014 through 2018. During her legislative tenure, Catharine developed a reputation as one of the most independent, bipartisan voices in the Legislature. She authored several bills to increase government accountability and transparency, including legislation requiring regional boards to comply with California’s open meeting laws, holding regional boards accountable for spending promises to voters, and increasing transparency of funding sources for campaign advertisements. For her advocacy in the areas of campaign finance reform and government accountability, Catharine received California Common Cause’s “We the People Award” and the Clean Money Campaign’s “Clean Money Champion Award.”
Catharine has practiced law in California for over 20 years. She is Special Counsel at Hoge Fenton law firm, where she practices election law and counsels small businesses and local non-profits on formation and dispute resolution. Catharine is a recipient of the California Bar Association’s highest award for pro-bono service, the Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services. She also has served as a Member of the California State Bar’s Financial Institutions Committee.
Catharine serves on many non-profit, non-partisan boards. She serves on the board of California Women Lead, a statewide non-partisan organization that helps women attain appointed and elected office, and California Forward, which promotes economic opportunity for all Californians. Catharine is also a Board Director with the Livermore Laboratory Foundation, which supports research opportunities and STEM student internships at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She is President of the Diablo Regional Arts Association, which supports professional arts performances and access for families and schools at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.
Catharine earned her B.A. degree from the University of Chicago, and her J.D. degree from University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and she holds an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from National University.
Galena West, Executive Director
Galena West has served as Executive Director since her appointment on August 15, 2020. Prior to that she served as the Chief of Enforcement for the Fair Political Practices Commission since June 2015. She spent ten years as Senior Commission Counsel in the Enforcement Division, serving as second in command of the division.
Previous to her extensive work in the Enforcement Division, West served three years in the FPPC’s Legal Division and before that received her law degree from the University of California, Davis, King Hall School of Law, and her undergraduate degree in International Business from California State University, Sacramento. As part of her undergraduate studies, she spent a year studying International Business/European Community Law at Middlesex University in London, England.
David Bainbridge, General Counsel
Dave Bainbridge has served as General Counsel since October of 2018. Prior to that he worked for the FPPC’s Enforcement Division for over six years, first as a Commission Counsel prosecuting enforcement matters on behalf of the FPPC, and then as the Assistant Chief of the division. Before coming to the FPPC, he served as staff counsel at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Governor’s Office of Legal Affairs where he advised the governor on parole board decisions. He also worked as an associate attorney at a private law firm concentrating in the areas of real estate and business law. Dave graduated with distinction from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law with a certificate in governmental affairs. He received an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of California, Davis.
James Lindsay, Enforcement Division
James Lindsay has served as Enforcement Chief since his appointment on August 28, 2023. Before coming to the FPPC, he served as Chief Counsel for the California Children and Families Commission, otherwise known as First 5 California. Prior to that, he served as Lead Litigation Counsel at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). James had a long career in private practice prior to his time at CalSTRS focusing extensively on prosecuting class action matters enforcing many California consumer protection statutes. He has significant administrative hearing, trial and appellate experience and is counsel of record in several reported decisions including a California Supreme Court decision that unanimously reversed an adverse decision of the court of appeal. James received his law degree from Tulane University School of Law and received his undergraduate degree in Economics, magna cum laude, from California State University, Fresno.
Loressa Hon, Chief, Administration Division
The Chief of the Administration Division leads a team of IT specialists, personnel and business service specialists to advise the Commission to provide support and carry out the administrative functions for the agency. Included in the Division are the Fiscal and Business Services Section, the Information Technology Section and the Personnel Section. The Division is responsible for the annual preparation and ongoing monitoring of the agency budget, accounting and internal control functions for the agency, the deposit of fines and penalties, the procurement activity for the agency, facilities and asset management, personnel functions, labor relations and equal employment opportunity issues, the operation and development of agency technology including the website and agency databases, and disaster recovery and security issues for the agency.
Shrdha Shah, Chief, Audits & Assistance Division
Shrdha Shah has served as the Chief of Audits and Assistance Division since December 2021. Before coming to the FPPC, she served as the Audit Manager at the California Student Aid Commission where she managed the agency's audit program. Prior to state service, Ms. Shah worked in the private sector as well as at two local accounting firms conducting audits of various industries such as financial institutions, government agencies, educational institutions, and public and private companies. Ms. Shah graduated from CA State University, Sacramento, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Accounting. She is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Fair Political Practices Commission
1102 Q Street, Suite 3050
Sacramento, CA 95811
General Contact Line: (916)322-5660
Advice Line: 1-866-ASK-FPPC (1-866-275-3772)