A Republican member of the Federal Election Commission eviscerated one of her Democratic colleagues on Tuesday, saying she had spiraled "from foolishness to nihilism" at the FEC.

"Commissioner Ann Ravel's tenure ... has been marked by a progression from foolishness to nihilism as to the role of the agency, the importance of the First Amendment, and the role of the courts in interpreting the law," Republican Commissioner Caroline C. Hunter wrote of her colleague.

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Hunter noted the aggressive stance Ravel has taken in favor of regulating speech on the Internet, as well as a recent vote Ravel cast in favor of punishing Fox News for a holding presidential debate, and a subsequent comment asserting that her role on the commission is "not to apply constitutional principles."

"The fact that Commissioner Ravel said this while explaining her vote to censor a news organization for hosting a candidate debate would be troubling even if it weren't part of a disturbing trend," Hunter wrote in her editorial, which was published in the Daily Caller. "Commissioner Ravel, like other FEC commissioners, took an oath to 'support and defend the Constitution' before assuming public office."

"Commissioner Ravel has made several recent public statements that suggest a fundamental misunderstanding of the agency on which we both serve," Hunter added. "She has repeatedly claimed — incorrectly — that Republican Commissioners at the FEC refuse to enforce the law. What she doesn't seem to recognize is that Americans have a constitutional right to speak and associate freely, and overly aggressive enforcement actions chill and harm those rights."

Hunter, who was appointed to the agency by President Bush in 2008, has generally taken a more reserved tone during her tenure than Ravel, who last year said her colleagues were "dysfunctional" and suggested they should resign.

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Ravel, appointed to the commission by President Obama in 2013, has voted repeatedly to tighten online speech restrictions on platforms like YouTube and Twitter, and hosted a hearing for the public to provide input on the issue last year. She also held a highly unusual "forum" to talk about encouraging women to become politically active, an event that Hunter criticized as beyond the agency's purview.

"The FEC is tasked with the delicate job of regulating political speech consistently with the First Amendment, not engineering social policy," Hunter said. "The FEC does not pick favorites, be they women candidates or anyone else."

"It should not be too much to expect each Commissioner to appreciate and understand our agency's unique role and fundamental principles of administrative and constitutional law," Hunter added. "I encourage my colleague to do the same."