Jack Abramoff Speaks at USF

Former lobbyist to give talk, answer audience questions

SAN FRANCISCO - (June 3, 2013)

Jack Abramoff, the central figure in one of the most corrupt political lobbying scandals in recent history, and author of "Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth about Washington Corruption from America's Most Notorious Lobbyist," will give a lecture at the University of San Francisco (USF) this Thursday, June 6, at 6:30 p.m. in the Handlery Room on USF's Lone Mountain (2800 Turk Blvd. in San Francisco). The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited and priority seating will be given to USF students, faculty, and staff.

Having served 43 months in federal prison for conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and tax evasion, Abramoff is out and ready to speak about how his destructive lobbying practices were not only illegal and unethical, but also corrosive to democracy in America. Striving to improve the democratic landscape, Abramoff maintains he has turned his experience of exploiting political loopholes into insights on how to close them.

"Government is broken because of unethical practices, compromised politicians, and special interests and their lobbyists who use money to game the system," said Abramoff. "I look forward to speaking at the University of San Francisco about what I learned when I was on the inside of our corrupt political system, and how it can be fixed."

"A wide majority of Americans distrust the national government," said Corey Cook, associate professor of politics and director of the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good at USF. "Partly that is the result of various ethics scandals beginning with the Watergate break-in. The Abramoff lobbying scandal garnered substantial public attention because it represented an egregious violation of the public trust. But despite the popular attention, endemic political corruption is both more pervasive and more corrosive to the political system. Mr. Abramoff offers an inside perspective of the vastly disproportionate role of organized interests and money in politics, and provides some ways we might restore integrity to our political processes."

Abramoff was invited to speak at USF by Alex Clemens, founder of Barbary Coast Consulting, a San Francisco public affairs firm, who also serves as a lecturer in USF's graduate program in Public Affairs and Practical Politics. Many in the audience will be graduate students studying politics, and Clemens believes Abramoff will serve as a unique case study in political ethics for his students to explore in detail. After his talk, Abramoff will take questions from McCarthy Center students and the audience.

About the Masters Program in Public Affairs at USF

The graduate Program in Public Affairs and Practical Politics provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective political action by merging hands-on experiences with rigorous graduate seminars to bridge theory and praxis. It allows students to apply their skills outside of the traditional classroom setting to create positive change in their communities and in the political system.

The Master of Public Affairs Program resides in the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good. The McCarthy Center at USF inspires and equips students to lead lives of ethical public service both in their careers and their communities. In addition to providing internship opportunities in the public-service sector in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C., the Center also offers an undergraduate Public Service Honors Minor and Certificate program - as well as the Master of Public Affairs.

About the University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco is located in the heart of one of the world's most innovative and diverse cities and is home to a vibrant academic community of students and faculty who achieve excellence in their fields. Its diverse student body enjoys direct access to faculty, small classes, and outstanding opportunities in the city itself. USF is San Francisco's first university, and its Jesuit Catholic mission helps ignite a student's passion for social justice and a desire to "Change the World from Here." For more information, please visit www.usfca.edu.

Members of the media who would like to attend the June 6 talk, or to request an interview with Mr. Abramoff, please contact Anne-Marie Devine abdevine@usfca.edu or 415-422-2697.