Center Plans Civitas Forum Oct. 10

by Public Relations | Sep 19, 2018

Sept. 21, 2018

Saint Vincent College and its Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government’s Center for Political and Economic Thought will host the annual Civitas Forum on Principles and Policies for Public Life on Wednesday, Oct. 10, in the Fred M. Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College. Registration and a light continental breakfast will begin at 8 a.m.

The day’s schedule on the theme, “Scandal in American Politics: Is There a New Normal?” includes the following: 8:30 a.m., “Special Prosecutors: Yesterday and Today,” Geoff Shepard, author of The Real Watergate Scandal; 9:30 a.m., “What Sort of Investigations Do Democracies Have to Fear?,” Richard Reinsch of Liberty Fund Inc.; 10:30 a.m., “When Two Tribes Go to War: Normalizing Scandal in an Age of Hyperpolarization,” Alison Dagnes of Shippensburg University; and 11:30 a.m., “Manufacturing Scandal to Cover Up Scandal,” Julie Ponzi of American Greatness.

All sessions are open to the public. There is no cost to attend.

Geoff ShepardShepard holds degrees from Whittier College and Harvard Law School. He was selected a White House Fellow in 1969 and assigned to the Treasury Department, where he worked under Paul Volcker, then undersecretary for monetary affairs. Following his fellowship year, Shepard joined John Ehrlichman’s Domestic Council staff at the Nixon White House, where he served for five years, first as a staff assistant and ultimately as associate director. He also worked on President Nixon’s Watergate defense team, where he was principal deputy to the President’s lead lawyer, J. Fred Buzhardt. In that capacity, he helped transcribe the White House tapes, ran the document rooms holding the seized files of H. R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and John Dean, and staffed White House counselors Bryce Harlow and Dean Birch. He left the Ford administration in 1975 and embarked on a 35-year career in the insurance industry, ultimately becoming senior vice president and corporate secretary of CIGNA Corporation, then senior vice president and general counsel of Reliance Insurance Company, and then President of the corporate division of Karr Barth Associates. Shepard’s first book, The Secret Plot, was published by Penguin Sentinel in 2008 and focuses on the political intrigue behind the successful exploitation of the Watergate scandal. His current book, The Real Watergate Scandal, was published by Regnery History in August. It focuses on judicial and prosecutorial abuse in the Watergate trials. Shepard also has a third book underway about the Pentagon Papers, the Church Committee and the Plumbers prosecution.

Richard ReinschReinsch is the founding editor and director of Liberty Fund's journal Law and Liberty. He is also the host of the journal's podcast show Liberty Law Talk. The author of Whittaker Chambers: The Spirit of a Counterrevolutionary (ISI Books, 2010), he also authored Seeking the Truth: An Orestes Brownson Anthology was released by Catholic University Press this September. He is currently under contract with University Press of Kansas on a book written with co-author Peter Augustine Lawler entitled A Constitution in Full: The Unwritten Foundation of American Liberty. His writings have appeared in National Affairs, Perspectives on Political Science, Modern Age, The Weekly Standard, The American Conservative and the Journal of Religion and Liberty, among other publications.

Alison DagnesDagnes is professor of political science at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. She is the author of Politics on Demand: The Effects of 24-Hour News on American Politics (2010), and she frequently speaks on the topic of the modern media. She has also edited two books on political scandal, and her current research examines ideology and political satire. Her book A Conservative Walks Into a Bar: The Politics of Political Humor was published in 2012. Prior to receiving her doctorate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Dagnes was a producer for C-SPAN in Washington, D.C.

Julie PonziPonzi is senior editor of American Greatness. She holds an M.A. in political philosophy and American politics from the Claremont Graduate University. She was an Earhart Fellow and a Bradley Foundation Fellow while studying at Claremont and also earned a Publius Fellowship from The Claremont Institute. Formerly the director of academic programs at the Claremont Institute, she also taught American politics at Azusa Pacific University. Her writing has appeared in the Claremont Review of Books, The Online Library of Law and Liberty, The Columbus Dispatch, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Washington Times. She was also a regular and long-time contributor to the Ashbrook Center's blog, No Left Turns.

The Center for Political and Economic Thought is an interdisciplinary public affairs institution of Saint Vincent College. It sponsors research and education programs, primarily in the fields of politics, economics and moral-cultural affairs. The Center seeks to advance scholarship on philosophical and policy concerns related to freedom and Western civilization with particular regard to the American experience. The Center was founded in 1991 as an outgrowth of the Alex G. McKenna Economic Education Series, which was launched in 1986.

The Center’s programs include: The Alex G. McKenna Economic Education Series, the Government and Political Education Series, the Civitas Forum on Principles and Policies for Public Life, Culture and Policy Conferences and Scholarships and Fellowships. In addition, the Center supports research and educational activities through its staff and it produces numerous publications.

Like the Center for Political and Economic Thought on Facebook and follow it on Twitter: @McKennaCPET

For more information or to pre-register, please contact Mary Beth McConahey at 


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