Jack Abramoff, the former lobbyist, businessman and movie producer who was indicted on charges of fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion after an extensive corruption investigation, will give a talk on ethics at The University of Texas at Austin on May 2. "You Don't Know Jack! A Conversation with Jack Abramoff" will be held at the ATandT Executive Education and Conference Center from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Abramoff, who served four years in federal prison after pleading guilty, will discuss the importance of ethics in government, as well as personal ethics as they relate to his own experiences. He will describe the pitfalls he didn't see, what he didn't do, how he came to the point of making only bad choices and how he came to realize his mistakes and work through them.
"Few have so publicly made the unfortunate conversion from Washington powerhouse to national punching bag," said Robert Prentice, chair of the Business, Government and Society department the newest academic department at the McCombs School of Business. "Any reasonably intelligent person and Jack Abramoff is more than reasonably intelligent who has traveled that route must have insights to share with the rest of us about how we can avoid making similar mistakes."
The event will kick off Abramoff's brief visit to the university, where he will be filmed for a segment of "Ethics Unwrapped," a McCombs School video series project. Funded by a grant from the Deloitte Foundation, the series will launch in late August. The project's goal is to increase awareness of ethical issues and provide professors a platform for fostering meaningful discussions in the classroom. During the visit, Abramoff will also be speaking to students from the McCombs School and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs about the ethical dilemmas posed by the intersection of government and business.
"We invited Jack to participate in 'Ethics Unwrapped' because his experience relates directly to our mission: exploring ethical issues at the intersection of business, government and society," says project director Cara Biasucci.
Sponsors for the Abramoff event are the Bates Family Foundation, the Deloitte Foundation, the Student Events Center Distinguished Speaker Series and the McCombs School of Business.