By MEAGAN BRUNSON
Former Senator Warren B. Rudman will visit BYU for the first time Thursday to speak to students and participate in KBYU’s filming of “Reporting the World,” which will address press coverage of Congress.
KBYU will film “Reporting the World” and give it to PBS to air at its leisure. Rudman will speak to students Thursday at 11 a.m. in the Madsen Recital Hall of the Harris Fine Arts Center.
John Dancy, visiting professor of communications and interim director of the International Media Studies program directing “Reporting the World,” said Rudman is highly valued by people in Washington, D.C., because he has a reputation of being absolutely honest and full of integrity in personal dealings and in the way he talks to people.
“He is one of the most honest, straight-talking senators you will ever find,” Dancy said. “His opinion is highly met by presidents and business leaders.”
Rudman was appointed by President Clinton in 1993 to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which advises the president about foreign intelligence operations, structure and needs. He now serves as the chair.
“It is a group of highly trusted individuals who have the absolute top secret clearances that are necessary to know all of the country’s intelligence secrets,” Dancy said. “They know all of them, there’s nothing held back.”
Dancy described Rudman as a behind-the-scenes player in Washington, D.C., although he is candid and outspoken in his public comments.
“He is important because he is so trusted,” Dancy said. “Every time there is a ticklish situation nobody wants to deal with, they call Rudman.”
In 1997, Rudman was asked to look into the causes of U.S. soldiers’ illnesses during Desert Storm — a situation that could have been “political dynamite” had the U.S. been shown as partly to blame for their own soldiers’ sicknesses, Dancy said.
Rudman has now officially retired from Congress and is serving as the chair of John McCain’s presidential committee.
“I expect he’ll talk a little politics,” Dancy said, speaking of Rudman’s Thursday lecture.
Rudman was first elected as a U.S. Senator from New Hampshire in 1980 and re-elected in 1986. After serving 12 years in the senate, Rudman became a partner in the international law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison.
Rudman served in the U.S. Army as a combat platoon leader and company commander during the Korean War. He was appointed in 1970 as Attorney General of New Hampshire and in 1975 was elected president of the National Association of Attorneys General.
While in the Senate, Rudman established independence by refusing to accept out-of-state political action committee donations. A National Journal survey named Rudman one of the body’s “Best Legislators.”
Rudman co-authored the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction law, which disciplined the federal budget process in order to reduce the federal deficit and was called ” the most significant piece of legislation of the 1980’s,” according to a biography from Rudman’s office.
In 1986, Rudman was vice-chair of the Senate Select Committee, which investigated arms transfers to Iran. While vice-chair, he was instrumental in organizing and directing the investigation of the Iran-Contra affair, according to Rudman’s biography.
Rudman presided over numerous investigations and hearings including the Keating Five and was active in developing ethics legislation from 1985 until he left the Senate.
Rudman’s book, “COMBAT: Twelve Years in the U.S. Senate,” was published by Random House in May of 1996.
All students are invited to attend Rudman’s 11 a.m. lecture and the KBYU taping at 1 p.m. in the HFAC KBYU studio, although seating for the taping will be limited.
Students are asked not to wear white shirts, baseball caps or chew gum during the taping. “Reporting the World” will be broadcast on PBS stations within about two weeks after it is taped.
Dancy said “Reporting the World” guests, besides Rudman, include Guy Gugliotta, reporter for the Washington Post who has covered Congress for 7 of the last 9 years and Dr. Kelly Patterson, BYU political science department chair who worked on Congress staff for a year.