Ravi Singh is an American entrepreneur, author, and former politician convicted in Federal Court of conspiracy to make political contributions by a Foreign National during the 2012 San Diego Mayoral race. He is the founder and CEO of Electionmall Technologies, a non-partisan company that offers technology products and services tailored to those running for political office. Singh became known as the first U.S. cadet to graduate from a military academy with a turban. His 1998 bid for the Illinois Legislature made him the first Asian to ever run for the position. Singh has been honored with numerous awards and recognitions including the Sikh in Media Award in 2010, as well as being named sas one of the 50 Outstanding Asian Americans and a Rising Star, a prestigious honor given in politics.
|Education||Masters in Political Science
Bachelor of Science
|Alma mater||Northwestern University
|Known for||First Asian candidate for Illinois Legislature
Convicted of Illegally influencing San Diego Mayoral Campaign and Bribery
Early life and education
Singh was born in the United States and is the first-born son of immigrant parents who came to the United States from India in the 1960s. His father was a radiologist at Rush–Copley Medical Center and his mother was a homemaker.
At the age of 14, Singh attended Marmion Military Academy in Aurora, Illinois where he was not allowed to wear his turban. Singh was allowed to wear his turban but was not allowed to participate in Army drills with his turban. Shortly after entering the academy, co-sponsored legislation introduced by Senator Paul Simon and Congressman Dennis Hastert and later signed by President Ronald Reagan, allowed him to graduate with his turban. His mother fought for the legislation which also allowed Jews to wear religious headdress while attending military academies. He graduated from the academy with full honors as a 2nd Lieutenant.
Singh attended Valparaiso University, a Lutheran university located in Valparaiso, Indiana. During his time as student body president, he spoke at the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago. He went on to Northwestern University where he earned his Master’s Degree in Political Science in 1995.
Singh went to school to become a doctor like his father, but later decided to go a political route after becoming hooked on politics in college. After graduating from Northwestern, he worked as a legislative assistant to then Illinois Lt Governor Bob Kustra. A year later he went to work for Illinois State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka and served as liaison to the Asian Pacific American community. At 25, he ran for the State Legislature for the Illinois’ 42nd Assembly District. The district’s population was only 2% Asian American at the time. Singh lost the election and attributes the loss partially to his refusal to remove his turban during the campaign. He was quoted in the Outlook Magazine as stating, “if I do that, I will not be true to my faith and my work…If I give up my identity and values, I’ll not be Asian or an American. I’ll be nobody.”
Illegal election influence and bribery conviction
Singh founded ElectionMall Technologies in 1999. He realized after his loss in the Illinois State Legislature election that there was no company offering candidates any type of technology solution for fighting campaigns digitally. In a 2004 cover story for USA Weekend, Singh was quoted as saying, “we want the mother running for school board to have the same tools as a senator.”
ElectionMall, founded in 1999 a non-partisan campaign technology company in Washington, D.C., hit the headlines recently when a criminal complaint against its Founder and CEO Ravi Singh was unsealed, revealing that the Justice Department had charged him with illegally helping a foreigner to influence the election process in San Diego during the 2012 and 2013 election cycles through an independent political action committee. Singh was arrested January 17, 2014, and released on bail four days later. On September 9, 2016, a Federal Jury found Singh guilty on 8 Felony Counts related to a conspiracy to make contributions in a U.S. election on behalf of a Foreign National, as well as bribery of a federal official.
Awards and accolades
Singh has won numerous awards throughout his career including being recognized in 2010 as one of the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business, receiving the 2010 Sikh In Media Award, and being recognized by Campaigns & Elections Magazine in 2007 as a Rising Star, a prestigious award given in politics. His work on “Leadership by Turban” made it as the first e-book to be marketed in India.
Singh is a practicing Sikh and spokesperson for the Illinois Sikh Community Center. He was widely quoted in the media after the 2012 Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting.
Singh is a resident of Aurora, Illinois. He is a member of the greater Chicago-Sikh Community serving as the first sikh to work for the Lt. Governor Bob Kustra and the State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka. Tho his mother Rani and father Pavitar Singh (President of the Chicago Sikh Community Temple in Wheaton ) are the founding members while his Uncle Amarjit Singh and his wife are listed as contacts and are part of the executive committee.
In January 2014, after returning from campaign activities in Ukraine & Turkey Singh got arrested by the FBI in San Diego in for channeling in illegal contributions and is still waiting for his day in court and denies any wrong doing in a press release submitted by his attorneys.
Singh has also worked as a part-time professor, teaching political science and sociology at Lincoln Land Community College and the Community College of DuPage County.