Lawson Bader, President and CEO, DonorsTrust

When he took the helm at DonorsTrust, Lawson had concluded three years as president and CEO at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a DC-based think tank that promotes freedom and limited government across a wide range of policy issues. Lawson succeeded CEI’s founder and managed a successful leadership transition. That experience will be valuable in this new role at DonorsTrust, where he also will succeed the organization’s founder.
Prior to his role at CEI, Lawson was vice president at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. There, he built several important programs to educate lawmakers and their advisors on economic principles.
With a Master’s degree in government from Johns Hopkins, a B.A. in political science from Wheaton College, and his experience working in market-oriented think tanks, Lawson comes to DonorsTrust with a wealth of knowledge about the policy world and a strong commitment to the principles of limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise that animate DonorsTrust’s mission.

Kim Dennis, President & CEO, Searle Freedom Trust 

Kim Dennis has served as president and CEO of the Searle Freedom Trust, a grantmaking foundation established by the late Daniel C. Searle to support public policy research, since 1996. For five of those years, she also directed the National Research Initiative, a Searle-funded program of AEI. Ms. Dennis first began working in the grantmaking arena in 1980 as a staffer for the John M. Olin Foundation, and later became the first executive director of the Philanthropy Roundtable. She co-founded and serves as chairman of the board of Donors Trust. She has also served on the boards of the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation, the Earhart Foundation, the W. H. Brady Foundation, the Philanthropy Roundtable, the Property and Environment Research Center, and George Mason University.

Joseph E. diGenova, Founding Partner, diGenova & Toensing, LLP and Former United States Attorney, District of Columbia

For four years, diGenova was United States Attorney, District of Columbia, which is the largest such office, having more than 400 attorneys.  He supervised complex Federal criminal and civil matters including international drug smuggling, public corruption, espionage, insider trading, tax fraud, extradition, fraud, RICO, export control and international terrorism.  Many of these prosecutions involved negotiations with foreign governments.  He conducted a wide-ranging probe of corruption in the D.C. government, which led to the conviction of two deputy mayors.  He led the prosecution of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.  He was the Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney during the prosecution of attempted Presidential assassin, John W. Hinckley.
DiGenova has extensive experience on Capitol Hill.  He was Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the Senate Rules Committee and Counsel to the Senate Judiciary, Governmental Affairs and Select Intelligence Committees.  He has conducted confirmation, investigative, legislative and oversight hearings, drafted legislation and testified before both Houses of Congress.  He also served as Administrative Assistant and Legislative Director to U.S. Senator Charles Mathias.
Mr. diGenova has published articles on criminal law, terrorism, and Congressional oversight and has spoken on those and other issues to various organizations throughout the United States.  As part of his advocacy approach, he has appeared on Court TV, Lehrer News Hour, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, Nightline, 60 Minutes, Crossfire, This Week With David Brinkley, John McLaughlin’s One On One, Today Show, Good Morning America, and other national television programs.  He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati and his law degree from Georgetown University.

Todd Gaziano, Executive Director of the DC Center and Senior Fellow in Constitutional Law, Pacific Legal Foundation

Todd Gaziano joined PLF in 2014 as Executive Director of its DC Center and Senior Fellow in Constitutional Law. Todd has served in all three branches of the federal government, worked in the private sector, and is a well-known scholar and leader in the liberty legal movement.
Todd attended the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics. His public law work includes service as a law clerk for U.S. Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones, in the U.S. DOJ Office of Legal Counsel, as a chief subcommittee counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives, and as the founding director of The Heritage Foundation’s Legal Center. He also had a six-year term as commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, where he reported on civil rights developments and conducted oversight and investigations of civil rights agencies. Early in his career, he was as a litigator in Houston, and more recently, was the Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of an innovative healthcare delivery and IT company.
Todd is a frequent legal commentator in print, on radio and TV, before congressional committees, and in other public settings. With more than 20 years in the liberty movement, Todd continues to publish scholarly papers and op-eds on constitutional and legal reform topics. He has a special interest in the constitutional limits of government, especially federalism and the separation of powers, and protections for individual rights. Several of his scholarly articles have influenced landmark Supreme Court litigation, congressional policy, and presidential actions. He also has worked to increase the effectiveness of many organizations within the freedom-based public interest legal movement.

Kevin Gentry, Vice President, Charles Koch Foundation, and Vice President of Special Projects–Development, Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC 

Kevin Gentry serves as vice president for special projects—development, at Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC. Kevin also works to build the fundraising and marketing capabilities for organizations that are dedicated to advancing a free society.
Previously, Kevin served as vice president of the Institute for Humane Studies and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and prior to that he served as executive vice president of the Leadership Institute.
Kevin and his wife, Anne, are both graduates of the College of William and Mary, and they live in Virginia with their two children. They are also active members of The Falls Church Anglican, where Kevin has served on the vestry and presently serves as stewardship chairman.

Eric M. George, Partner, Browne George Ross LLP

Eric M. George, a partner with Browne George Ross LLP, represents clients in complex, frequently high-profile disputes. He is experienced in state and federal trial court and arbitration proceedings, involving contracts, securities, intellectual property, real estate, art law, Indian law, malpractice and constitutional issues. Eric also has extensive appellate experience, having argued cases before the California Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the California Courts of Appeal.

Prior to joining the firm, Eric served as Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee (1999 through 2000); as Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary to Gov. Pete Wilson (1997 through 1999); and as a law clerk for federal Judge D. Lowell Jensen of the Northern District of California (1993 through 1994).

Eric has been profiled on various occasions, and is featured regularly as one of the California Top 100 Attorneys by the Daily Journal, as one of the “Top 100 Power Lawyers” by the Hollywood Reporter, and as a “Super Lawyer.” In 2014, the Daily Journal reported a $65 million summary judgment won by Eric as one of the prior year’s top 10 awards in California.

Eric serves on federal and state judicial selection committees; is involved in the state’s legal, business and civic communities; and sits on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ Advisory Committee.

Brian Glicklich, Chair of the Global Digital Practice, Sitrick and Company

Brian Glicklich, Chairman of Sitrick and Company’s digital practice, has developed, implemented and supervised digital campaigns for everything from reputation management to proxy contests to litigation support. During his tenure at Sitrick, cases with which he has been involved have included such matters as the Patricia Dunn case, where as Chairman of HP she was indicted for allegedly spying on her board, (all charges were dropped); Roy Disney’s Withhold Campaign Against Michael Eisner, then Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company; various financial restructurings – in and out of court; proxy contests; environmental issues; union campaigns, combating short sellers who were being sued for stock manipulation, celebrities, sports figures and individuals who were the targets of attacks and smear campaigns and a wide variety of other business and litigation issues. Prior to joining Sitrick, Mr. Glicklich was Senior Vice President of Digital Media for Premiere Radio Networks, the National Syndication business of Clear Channel. While at Premiere, he developed the digital/web businesses of a wide-ranging group of broadcasters including Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Ryan Seacrest and Whoopi Goldberg.

Rick Graber, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation

Rick is a magna cum laude graduate of Duke University and received his law degree from Boston University.  He practiced law in Milwaukee with the firm of Reinhart Boerner Van Duren, where he was a partner for almost twenty years and served as the firm's president and chief executive officer.  He served as the United States Ambassador to the Czech Republic during 2006-2009, where he organized and managed efforts on behalf of the United States to locate a missile defense facility in the Czech Republic. Since 2010 he has served in executive positions with Honeywell International in Brussels and Washington, D.C., most recently as the Senior Vice President of Global Government Relations.
In addition to serving on the board of directors of the Bradley Foundation, Rick has also been a director of another large private, conservative foundation, the Kern Family Foundation.  He is a member of the Wake Forest University Law School Board of Visitors.  He is a former State Chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin; member of the Republican National Committee; and Director and Vice Chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago.  He is a former member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee; Trustee of the Medical College of Wisconsin; Co-Chairman of the Milwaukee United Way campaign; and board member of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee.  Rick is married to Alex; they have two sons, Scott and Erik.

The Hon. Scott Keller, Texas Solicitor General

Scott Keller is the Solicitor General of Texas. Before becoming Solicitor General, he served as U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s chief counsel and was an attorney at Yetter Coleman LLP in Austin, Texas. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, was a Bristow Fellow in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Solicitor General, and clerked for Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Keller received a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Purdue University and a law degree from The University of Texas School of Law.

The Hon. Thomas R. Lee, Associate Chief Justice, Utah Supreme Court

Justice Thomas R. Lee was appointed to the Utah Supreme Court by Governor Gary Herbert in July 2010. He currently serves as Associate Chief Justice and as a member of the Utah Judicial Council. He also chaired the Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Professionalism and Civility during a time in which the court promulgated Standards of Professionalism and Civility for judges in Utah. Justice Lee is a graduate, with high honors, of the University of Chicago Law School. After law school, he served as a law clerk for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, III, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and then for Justice Clarence Thomas of the United States Supreme Court. Justice Lee then joined the law firm now known as Parr, Brown, Gee & Loveless, where he became a shareholder. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Justice Lee was a full-time professor at the law school at Brigham Young University, where he continues to serve as Distinguished Lecturer. During his years as a full-time law professor, he maintained a part-time intellectual property litigation practice with Howard, Phillips, & Andersen. He also developed a part-time appellate practice, arguing numerous cases in federal courts throughout the country and in the United States Supreme Court. In 2004 - 05, Justice Lee served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Steven Lehotsky, Vice President & Chief Counsel for Regulatory Litigation, U.S. Chamber Litigation Center

Steve Lehotsky is vice president and chief counsel for regulatory litigation for the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, the litigation arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Lehotsky has extensive government and private sector experience, with a particular focus on regulatory litigation. Before joining the Chamber, Lehotsky practiced law with the international law firm of WilmerHale, where he was a member of the Government and Regulatory Litigation, Defense and National Security, and Appellate and Supreme Court litigation practices. His practice focused on litigation and counseling for corporations in the aerospace, defense, pharmaceutical, financial services, telecommunications, and agricultural sectors.
He also served as an attorney-adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he advised Executive Branch officers on a wide range of constitutional, statutory interpretation, and regulatory issues in the areas of cyber security, immigration reform, financial regulation, environmental regulation, economic sanctions, and national security.
During the 2009 Term of the Supreme Court of the United States, Lehotsky served as law clerk to Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. He also served as law clerk to Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Prior to his clerkship with Chief Judge Ginsburg, he practiced law at Goodwin Procter LLP in Boston, MA. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he received the Sears Prize. He also graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

The Hon. Steven J. Markman, Chief Justice, Michigan Supreme Court

Stephen Markman was chosen by the Court to serve as its Chief Justice on January 6, 2017. Before his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1999, he served as Judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals from 1995-1999. Prior to this, he practiced law with the firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone in Detroit. 

From 1989-93, Justice Markman served as United States Attorney, or federal prosecutor, in Michigan, after having been nominated by President George H. W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate. From 1985-1989, he served as Assistant Attorney General of the United States, after having been nominated by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the United States Senate. In that position, he headed the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy, which served as the principal policy development office within the Department, and which coordinated the federal judicial selection process. Prior to this, he served for seven years as Chief Counsel of the United States Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, and as Deputy Chief Counsel of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee.

Justice Markman has authored articles for such publications as the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, the Detroit College of Law Review, the Stanford Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the American Criminal Justice Law Review, the Barrister's Law Journal, the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, and the American University Law Review. Justice Markman has taught constitutional law at Hillsdale College since 1993. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School. 

The Hon. Kevin C. Newson, Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Kevin Christopher Newsom is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He was appointed by President Donald Trump on May 8, 2017, and confirmed by the Senate on August 1, 2017. Prior to his appointment, Judge Newsom practiced law at Bradley Arant in Birmingham, Alabama.
Before joining Bradley Arant, Judge Newsom served for three and a half years as the State of Alabama's Solicitor General. He served as a law clerk to Justice David H. Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court (2000-2001) and, before that, to Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1997-98). Judge Newsom received a B.A. from Samford University (1994); he graduated summa cum laude, first in his class, and with a 4.00 GPA. Judge Newsom received his J.D. from Harvard Law School (1997); he graduated magna cum laude and was an Articles Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Melinda Oakes, Executive Director, The Triad Foundation

Melinda Oakes is the executive director of The Triad Foundation, an Ithaca-based national philanthropy. Prior to joining Triad, she was an executive with Danish toymaker Lego for 15 years. At Lego, she had global responsibility for Lego's marketing, licensing and promotional divisions. Before Lego, she worked with Hallmark Cards of Kansas City and the Hartford, Connecticut, Civic Center.
In Ithaca, she is on the boards of the Sciencenter and Ithaca Women's Opportunity Center. She is also active with St. John's Episcopal Church and was chairwoman of the Cayuga Medical Center Foundation's Gala fundraiser in 2014. Melinda received her bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University in Communications and English and her Masters from the University of Hartford in Elementary Education. 

Peter Schweizer, Author and President, Government Accountability Institute 

Peter Schweizer is the President of Government Accountability Institute and a best-selling author. He is a partner in the Washington, D.C. firm Oval Office Writers which provides speechwriting and communications services for corporate executives and political figures. From 2008-9 he was a consultant to the Office of Presidential Speechwriting in the White House. He has also served as a member of the Ultraterrorism Study Group at the U.S. government’s Sandia National Laboratory and is a former consultant to NBC News. His books have been translated into eleven languages and include several New York Times or Washington Post bestsellers. His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Review, and elsewhere. He has appeared on numerous radio and television programs. Peter received his M.Phil. from Oxford University and his B.A. from George Washington University. He lives in Florida with his wife, Rhonda, and his children.

D. Gordon Smith, Dean, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University

Dean Smith is a leading figure in the field of law and entrepreneurship and has done foundational work on fiduciary theory. He has also made important contributions to the academic literature on corporate governance and transactional lawyering.

Throughout his career, Dean Smith has been active in developing scholarly communities. In 2004 he co-founded (with Christine Hurt, also of BYU Law School) The Conglomerate Blog, a popular law professor blog focusing on business law. He has served as Chair of the Section on Business Associations in the American Association of Law Schools (AALS), and he participated in the creation of the Section on Transactional Law and Skills, for which he currently serves as Secretary. In 2009 he served on the planning committee for the AALS Workshop on Transactional Law. During that same year, he co-founded the annual Rocky Mountain Junior Scholars Forum. In 2012 he co-founded (with Afra Afsharipour of UC Davis School of Law) the Transactional Law Workshop, a monthly virtual gathering of transactional law scholars. And in 2013, he co-founded (with Colleen Baker) the Business Ethics Book Club, a virtual book club of law professors, who meet once a semester to discuss a recent work on business ethics.

He has taught at six law schools in the U.S., as well as law programs in Australia, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, and Hong Kong. Before entering academe, Dean Smith clerked for Judge W. Eugene Davis in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and was an associate in the Delaware office of the international law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Governor Pete Wilson, Of Counsel, Browne George Ross LLP

Pete Wilson’s more than 30 years of dedicated public service as Governor of California, U.S. Senator, Mayor of San Diego and California state Assemblyman uniquely equip him to counsel and negotiate for clients at all levels of today’s activist regulatory environment.

Pete is Of Counsel at Browne George Ross LLP. He is also a Principal in WWGR Consulting. Pete strengthens BGR’s services by expanding its reach and experience nationally and internationally, particularly where business and governmental interests intertwine.

As Governor of California from 1991 to 1999, he is credited with leading California from the depths of recession to prosperous economic recovery. Insisting on strict budget discipline and reform of the state’s then-hostile business environment, he courted investment in job creation nationwide and abroad. He demanded reform of California’s onerous regulatory excess by consolidating and expediting permit approvals by creating one-stop shops. He advocated market-based pools for unsubsidized health coverage for employees of small businesses and obtained anti-fraud measures that drove down workers’ compensation premiums by 40 percent. Under his leadership, California also enacted sweeping welfare and anti-crime reforms and historic education reforms.

After leaving office, he served on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and the Defense Policy Board of the Secretary of Defense.

Byron York, Chief Political Correspondent, The Washington Examiner, and Fox News Contributor (Invited)

Byron York is the chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner, Fox News contributor, and author who lives in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining The Washington Examiner he was the White House correspondent for National Review, a columnist for The Hill, news producer at CNN Headline News, and an investigative reporter for The American Spectator, and a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post.
He is the author of author of The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President - and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next Time.
He written for The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, and New York Post, among other publications. A frequent guest on television and radio, he has appeared on such programs as Meet the Press, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, Meet the Press, Special Report, The Laura Ingraham Show, and Hardball with Chris Matthews, and has contributed occasional commentaries to National Public Radio.
York holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and a master's from the University of Chicago.