By Associated Press - Wednesday, April 23, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Gov. Jerry Brown appointed a fellow Democrat and judge to lead California’s campaign watchdog agency on Wednesday, in the wake of ethics scandals that have led to federal charges against two Democratic state senators accused of political corruption and the conviction of a third lawmaker on voter fraud and perjury charges.

Brown appointed Jodi Remke, 48, of Oakland to oversee the Fair Political Practices Commission, which enforces election laws and investigates allegations of wrongdoing.

Since 2006, Remke has been presiding judge at the State Bar Court of California, an independent court for attorneys accused of professional misconduct. It is the only such body of its kind in the nation.

Remke previously worked as a private attorney and for the state Senate Judiciary Committee under then-Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, who is now chairman of the California Democratic Party.

“I thank the governor for this opportunity to guide and shape discussion and actions to improve and encourage public trust in the process of government,” Remke said in a statement issued by the FPPC.

She replaces Ann Ravel, a Brown appointee who was vigorous in pursuing the source of $15 million in anonymous out-of-state donations that were funneled into California in the weeks before the 2012 general election. The money supported campaigns against Brown’s successful tax increase initiative and in favor of a separate initiative that would have limited unions’ ability to raise money for political purposes.

The commission found the donors gave their money through an Arizona-based nonprofit that funneled the cash to California political action committees through intermediary groups. It issued a $1 million fine against two of the groups involved.

The commission’s top position has been vacant for several months, since President Barack Obama appointed Ravel to the Federal Election Commission last June.

The California position, which pays $136,000 a year, does not require state Senate confirmation.

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