Veteran journalist tackles D.C. corruption in Oct....

Veteran journalist tackles D.C. corruption in Oct. 12 lecture

Veteran journalist Sandy Johnson will tackle “Uncovering Corruption: Tracking the Special-Interest Money that is Making Washington Ungovernable” on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at MTSU.

Sandy Johnson

Johnson, who is managing editor for politics and government at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C., will speak at 2:20 p.m. in the State Farm Lecture Hall in MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building. Her lecture is part of the Seigenthaler Speaker Series, sponsored by the Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies in MTSU’s College of Mass Communication.

The address is free and open to the public.

Johnson’s work at the CPI, which began in December 2010, is oversight of campaign finance, lobbying, politics, political ethics, and federal agencies.

Before joining the center, Johnson spent nearly 30 years at the Associated Press, where she oversaw the wire service’s coverage of the federal government, elections and politics as Washington bureau chief from 1998 to 2008. The Washington bureau was recognized multiple times for its political and investigative coverage during her tenure.

Johnson was a Pulitzer finalist for refusing to project George W. Bush as winner of the 2000 presidential election when Florida remained too close to call, leading to the AP’s status as the lone major news outlet in the exit-poll consortium that didn’t have to reverse its election call.

“More than a billion dollars has been spent so far this year by 11,000 lobbyists trying to influence Congress and federal agencies, and that doesn’t include campaign contributions,” said Dr. Deborah Gump, who directs the Seigenthaler Chair. “So ‘follow the money’ isn’t just a great line from ‘All the President’s Men’; it’s what good reporters must do to find out the ‘why’ behind the ‘what.’

“Sandy Johnson not only knows better than anyone else how to follow the money, she also knows where the backroom deals are made and who’s twisting whose arm. We are incredibly fortunate to have her insider’s view of Washington power plays.”

MTSU established the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies in 1986 to honor the newsman’s lifelong commitment to free expression. The Seigenthaler Chair supports a variety of activities related to free-speech and free-press rights, including welcoming visiting professors of First Amendment studies and lecturers who address issues of freedom of speech and press, along with funding research, seminars and meetings related to free expression.

For more information, call Gump at 615-898-5150.