FPPC Names New Chief of Enforcement

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Jay Wierenga , (916) 322-7761

.pdf version of news release

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), California’s governmental ethics and campaign disclosure agency, today announced the appointment of Galena West as the Commission’s Chief of Enforcement.

West spent the past ten years as Senior Commission counsel in the Enforcement Division, serving the past several years as second in command of the division. She has prosecuted some of the most serious violations of the Political Reform Act, ranging from campaign money laundering to conflicts of interest to shadow lobbying. Her expertise has been invaluable in many high profile cases, including prosecuting all committees related to Proposition 8, the lobbying case involving a well-known Sacramento-based lobbying firm, a cluster of cases involving virtually the entire city of Oxnard in coordination with the Ventura County District Attorney’s office, and the arbitration and settlement of a civil case for campaign violations by the Democratic National Committee. She was named Acting Enforcement Chief in March of this year.

“I’m extremely pleased to announce Galena’s appointment to this key position in the agency,” said Commission Chair Jodi Remke. “Galena’s knowledge of the 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. I’m confident Galena will reinforce California’s role as a national leader in the regulation of governmental ethics. ”

Previous to her extensive work in the Enforcement Division, West served three years in the FPPC’s Legal Division. Prior to the FPPC, West worked as a law clerk for the Legal Division of the California Franchise Tax Board, the California Attorney General's Office, Appeals, Writs & Trials Division, and the U.S. Attorney's Office, Civil Division.

West has been instrumental in strengthening the Enforcement Division’s program to streamline minor cases, allowing these lesser offenses to be resolved more effectively and efficiently. She will also oversee the implementation of a new case management system designed to enable Enforcement to quickly and thoroughly deliver investigative results, prescribe appropriate penalties to violators, and better monitor overall case processing.

“Galena’s unique skills and fresh approach to technology will help improve the speed and consistency in the complaint process, which in turn will enable us to use our resources to focus on prosecuting the more egregious behavior and serious violations,” added Remke.

West 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.

With an extremely dedicated and professional staff, the FPPC is always pleased to be able to promote from its wealth of internal expertise. West’s appointment follows that of Hyla P. Wagner as General Counsel of the FPPC. Wagner was previously a Senior Counsel in the Legal Division where she has focused on campaign finance and ethics laws. She came to the FPPC from the New York City Campaign Finance Board where she was Director of Policy Analysis and staff counsel. Wagner also worked at the New York City office of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky and Walker, and in the Washington, D.C. office of Congressman Anthony C. Beilenson.