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2009 Fall Forum: Money & Politics
Are We Getting Our Votes' Worth?

Mon November 16, 2009 at AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM

Opening Remarks
9:30 AM – 9:45 AM
Veronica Vargas Stidvent, Director
Center for Politics and Governance

Panel Discussion:
9:45 AM – 11:45 AM
Public Perceptions of Money, Politics and Campaigns
Moderator: Scot Powe, Professor, University of Texas
Karen Lundquist, Senior Attorney & Deputy Ethics Advisor, UT System
Brian Roberts, Professor, University of Texas
Daron Shaw, Professor, University of Texas
Matt Stiles, Reporter, The Texas Tribune

Lunch Keynote
12:00 PM to 1:15 PM
Matthew Petersen, Vice Chairman
Federal Election Commission

Panel Discussion:
1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Lobbying and Policy
Moderator: Evan Smith, CEO and Editor in Chief, The Texas Tribune
Henry Bonilla, former United States Congressman
Randy Erben, Attorney, Erben & Yarbrough
Meredith McGehee, Policy Director, Campaign Legal Center
Kirk Rudy, Deputy National Finance Chair, Democratic National Committee

About the Speakers and Panelists

Matthew S. Petersen - Vice Chairman, Federal Election Commission

Matthew S. Petersen was nominated to the Federal Election Commission by President George W. Bush on June 12, 2008, and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on June 24, 2008.

From 2005 until his appointment to the Commission, Mr. Petersen served as Republican chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. In this capacity, Mr. Petersen provided counsel on issues relating to federal campaign finance and election administration laws as well as the Standing Rules of the Senate.

Prior to this, Mr. Petersen served as counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration. During his tenure, Mr. Petersen was extensively involved in the crafting of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 ("HAVA") and the House-Senate negotiations that culminated in HAVA's passage. From 1999 to 2002, Mr. Petersen specialized in election and campaign finance law at the law firm of Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Petersen received his J.D. in 1999 from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was a member of the Virginia Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in philosophy from Brigham Young University in 1996. He also received an A.S. with high honors from Utah Valley State College.

Henry Bonilla - Partner, The Normandy Group

Henry Bonilla is a Partner at The Normandy Group, a Washington based government relations firm.  As a member of the U. S. House of Representatives from 1993-2007, Bonilla represented San Antonio and many counties along the Mexican border. As a freshman, Bonilla was given a seat on the House Appropriations Committee.  Mr. Bonilla also served as chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee and a senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. He held the prominent role of co-chairman of the Republican national conventions in 2000 and 2004.

Before his election to Congress, Bonilla’s professional career was in television news.  Having started as a reporter in Austin, he later became a producer for WABC-TV, the flagship station of the ABC television network in New York.  Bonilla earned a bachelor of journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

Randy Erben - Owner, Principal, and Attorney, Erben & Yarbrough

Randy Erben is the co-founder of the Erben & Yarbrough law firm in Austin, Texas, which focuses on state and federal government affairs. Erben & Yarbrough offers consulting services on ethics matters such as campaign finances, lobby filings and financial disclosure to a number of statewide elected officials and legislators, as well as other entities.

Mr. Erben served as Assistant Secretary Designate/Acting Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for Community Planning and Development.  Erben was nominated by President George H.W. Bush in August 1992 to administer $5.5 billion in federal grant programs relating to housing and community development.  Prior to this, Erben served as the director of the State of Texas Office of State-Federal Relations and the Assistant Secretary of State of Texas. 

Karen Lundquist - Senior Attorney and Deputy Ethics Advisory, The Univeristy of Texas System

Karen Lundquist is an attorney in the General Law Section of The University of Texas System Office of General Counsel. She serves as Deputy Ethics Advisor to the System and provides ethics training to officers and employees of the UT System and its institutions. She also analyzes and tracks legislation affecting higher education issues.

Before joining the staff of the Office of General Counsel, Ms. Lundquist served as the executive director of the Texas Ethics Commission, where she served as general counsel for seven years before assuming the executive director position. Ms. Lundquist also served for 15 years as an attorney with the Texas Legislative Council, where she drafted legislation and provided legal advice to members of the Texas Legislature.

Meredith McGehee - Policy Director, Campaign Legal Center

Meredith McGehee serves as policy director at the Campaign Legal Center where she directs the legislative and media policy efforts. She also serves as program director for Americans for Redistricting Reform, a coalition launched by the Legal Center. In addition, she is the principal of McGehee Strategies, which specializes in public interest advocacy campaigns. McGehee is the former president of the Alliance for Better Campaigns, a public interest group that sought to put meaning back into broadcasters' statutory obligation to serve the public interest.

Formerly senior vice president and chief lobbyist for Common Cause, McGehee has been named by The Hill as one of the top nonprofit/grassroots lobbyists in Washington three times.

Lucas A. Powe, Jr., JD - Professor, The University of Texas at Austin

A leading historian of the Supreme Court, Professor Powe clerked for Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas before joining the Texas faculty in 1971. His latest book is “The Supreme Court and The American Elite, 1789-2008” (2009). Previously, reflecting a split career as a historian and a First Amendment scholar, especially of the electronic media, his three award-winning books were “American Broadcasting and the First Amendment” (California 1987), “The Fourth Estate and the Constitution” (California 1991), and “The Warren Court and American Politics” (Harvard 2000).

Additionally he has co-authored “Regulating Broadcast Programming” (MIT 1994) and written scores of articles. Powe was also a principal commentator on the 2007 four-part PBS series "The Supreme Court." He is also a professor of government.

Brian E. Roberts, PhD - Professor, The University of Texas at Austin

Brian Roberts joined the University of Texas in 1985 and has served in numerous leadership roles.  From 1994 to 2006 he served as the associate dean for the College of Liberal Arts, and from 2006-2009 he served as the vice president for information technology.

Roberts' fields of interest include American political institutions, interest groups, and positive political economy, with a focus on politics & financial markets, corporate political participation, and distributive politics. He has published in the fields of political science, economics and finance.  Currently teaching an honors seminar on money and politics.

Kirk Rudy - Co-CEO, Endeavor Real Estate Group

As a co-founding and managing principal of Endeavor Real Estate Group, Kirk has been responsible for the overall operation of the company's office and industrial businesses. Kirk has executed office building acquisitions totaling in excess of 2.5 million square feet, including the former IBM campus, now called The Domain. He has been responsible for raising equity for a number of Endeavor projects, leading the disposition of the firm's retail portfolio in 2004, and negotiating public/private partnerships with the City of Austin, Travis County, the City of Cedar Park and the City of Round Rock for various Endeavor projects. Kirk now spends most of his time overseeing the development of The Domain-Phase II, an 8 million square foot mixed use community in North Central Austin.

Kirk Rudy was recently appointed as one of the deputy national finance chairs for the Democratic National Committee.

Daron Shaw, PhD - Professor, The University of Texas at Austin

Professor Shaw received his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles before joining the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall of 1994. His most recent book is “Unconventional Wisdom” (Oxford University Press), which empirically reconsiders popular perceptions of turnout, swing voting, the gender gap, youth voting, and other electoral phenomena. His previous book, “The Race to 270” (Chicago University Press), analyzes the effects of TV advertising and candidate visits on the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.

Shaw teaches American Government, Campaigns and Elections, Political Parties, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior, and Applied Survey Research.

Evan Smith - Editor in Chief and CEO, The Texas Tribune

Evan Smith spent nearly 18 years at Texas Monthly, stepping down in August 2009 as the magazine's president and editor in chief. Previously he served as editor for more than eight years—only the third person to hold that title. On his watch, Texas Monthly was nominated for sixteen National Magazine Awards, and twice was awarded the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. A New York native, Smith has a bachelor's degree in public policy from Hamilton College and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University. He previously held editorial positions at a number of national magazines; most recently at The New Republic, where he was deputy editor. He hosts the weekly interview program, TEXAS MONTHLY TALKS.

Smith sits on the boards of the Austin Film Society, Trinity Episcopal School, the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, the Headliners Club and Matinee Media.

Matt Stiles - Reporter, The Texas Tribune

Matt Stiles writes about government and politics with a focus on computer-assisted reporting. Previously, he was a government reporter at the Houston Chronicle. While there, he won the newspaper's Jesse Award for service journalism and beat reporting and was its reporter of the year in 2007. Before joining the Chronicle's staff, Stiles worked as a reporter for nearly four years at The Dallas Morning News. A native of Tallahassee, Florida, he has a degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Arlington.

The AT&T Executive Education Conference Center

1900 University Avenue
Austin, Texas 78705

From Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

From the airport, exit Bergstrom International Airport and turn left on Hwy. 71, and continue on Hwy. 71/Bastrop Hwy. Take exit onto IH-35N/US-290E. Continue on IH-35N, take exit 235A toward MLK/19th St., continue to MLK and turn left. Continue down MLK to University Ave., turn right on University Ave. and enter into the hotel on the left.

From IH-35 North

From the north, exit 235A from Interstate 35 toward MLK/19th St., continue to MLK and turn right. Continue down MLK to University Ave., turn right on University Ave. and enter into the hotel on the left.

From IH-35 South

From the south, exit 235A from IH-35 toward MLK/19th St., continue to MLK and turn left. Continue down MLK to University Ave., turn right on University Ave. and enter into the hotel on the left.

From East

From the east, follow US 290 into Austin to the IH-35 south exit. Follow IH-35 south and exit 235A toward MLK/19th St., continue to MLK and turn right. Continue down MLK to University Ave., turn right on University Ave. and enter into the hotel on the left.

From West

From the west, follow State Hwy. 71 into Austin to the IH-35N exit. Follow IH-35 north and exit 235A toward MLK/19th St., continue to MLK and turn left. Continue down MLK to University Ave., turn right on University Ave. and enter into the hotel on the left.

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