On October 30, 2020, President Donald Trump nominated Shana Broussard to the position of commissioner of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). On December 15, she assumed office. Broussard brings 12 years of experience at the FEC to the role. Prior to joining the organization in 2008, she served, among other things, as an Attorney-Advisor at the Internal Revenue Service and as a New Orleans Assistant District Attorney. As the first person of color to assume the role of commissioner, Broussard’s appointment represents a historic moment. To find out more, here are ten things you didn’t know about attorney Shana Broussard.
1. She’s always had a sense of justice
Even as a young girl, Broussard had a well-developed sense of justice. Broussard was a military brat born on Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Her childhood was spent moving around various military bases in the US. But while her two brothers couldn’t also count on which state they’d be waking up in tomorrow, the one thing they could always rely on was their sister’s unfailing sense of family justice. “If you were trying to get away with something, you made sure you didn’t do it around her,” her older brother Juan Broussard tells Business Insider. “While she kept you on your toes, we also knew our sister was something special.”
2. She decided to become a lawyer at 4 years old
Ask the average 4 year old what they want to be when they grow up, and they’re likely to say a princess, a unicorn, or a leprechaun. 4-year-old Broussard was a very different kind of child. Even though she wasn’t 100% sure what a lawyer actually did, she declared her intention to become one while doodling in a family memory book. The way she spelled ‘lawyer” may have been a little off, but the intention was clear enough.
3. She studied at Dillard University
When her family relocated to Louisana towards the end of Broussard’s high school years, she took the opportunity to apply to Dillard University, a historically Black liberal arts college in New Orleans. She spent the next four years studying political science. After graduating in 1991, she hot-footed it over to Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer. She later graduated with a Juris Doctorate with honors. She’s since credited her college years with helping her become the person she is today.
4. She spent years tackling violent crime in New Orleans
After graduating with her Juris Doctorate from Southern University, Broussard got straight to work building her resume. Following a brief period as a clerk at Louisiana’s state appellate court and an even briefer period at a private firm – an experience she’s since described as “not for me” – she spent five years working as an assistant district attorney in New Orleans. During her time in the position, she was tasked with tackling a huge range of violent crime cases, from drive-by shootings to manslaughters. From there, she worked for just over a year with the Louisiana Department of Justice’s gaming division before moving to Washington D..C in 2007 to pursue wider opportunities.
5. She joined the FEC in 2008
A year after arriving in the nation’s capital, Broussard joined the FEC. She spent the first 7 years with the organization investigating campaign finance violations as a member of the enforcement division of the Office of General Counsel. In 2015, she began serving as a staff attorney to FEC Commissioner Steven Walther. During her tenure with the FEC, Broussard has been honored on several occasions, winning the “Outstanding Performance Award” in both 2011 and 2014.
6. She was nominated as Commissioner in October 2020
After months of speculation, President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Broussard to the position of Commissioner of the FEC on October 28, 2020. 2 days later, her nomination was put to the Senate. On December 9, she was confirmed by a vote of 92 to 4. On December 15, she was sworn into office. It may seem like a fast turnover, but appearances can be deceptive. Broussard fills the vacancy left by Anne Ravel, a former commissioner who resigned over three years ago on March 1, 2017.
7. She’s one of three new commissioners
Broussard isn’t the only member of the FEC to be starting 2021 with a brand new job. As fec.gov reports, Broussard is one of three new commissioners all nominated by Trump in December 2020. Her colleagues include Sean J. Cooksey and Allen Dickerson. Cooksey, whose term is due to end on April 30, 2021, fills the vacancy left by former Lee E. Goodman. Dickerson, whose term ends on April 20, 2025, replaces Caroline C. Hunter.
8. She’s making history
When Broussard was confirmed to serve as a commissioner on the FEC, it was more than just a personal achievement. As the first person of color to be appointed to the position, it represents a landmark moment in US history. In a statement via the hill.com, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar said, “This is a landmark day since Shana Broussard will be the first person of color to serve on the Federal Elections Commission board in its 45-year history. Shana Broussard is an immensely qualified and well-respected attorney who has worked at the FEC for more than a decade. We must restore trust in the FEC, and this confirmation of Ms. Broussard will go a long way towards doing that.”
9. Her appointment has wider implications
When 4-year-old Broussard decided to become a lawyer, she probably never dreamt she’d eventually become a commissioner of the FEC. But thanks to her appointment, Broussard believes that more people will now see that opportunity is available to everyone, not just a select few. Speaking to Business Insider, Broussard says that her appointment serves as “encouragement that this is not an exclusive process for only some, but that the electoral process is open for all.” “The agency that promotes transparency should be led by people that represent and make themselves available to the public that they serve,” she adds.
10. She’s got a mammoth task in front of her
2021 is set to be a busy year for Broussard. For the past 15 months, the FEC has been unable to conduct business as a result of a dearth of commissioners. Investigations weren’t completed, fines went unissued, new rules went unmade. As a result, Broussard and her colleagues now face a backlog of over 400 enforcement cases.