'The Informant' inspiration to give Chandler lecture Dec. 1; former independent counsel Starr to speak at law school Nov. 19

Herndon was key player in price-fixing case

Robert Herndon, Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and KU School of Business graduate, will deliver the Anderson Chandler Lecture, “Clues from the Convicts: Life Lessons on Character, Leadership, and Ethics from the files of the FBI,” at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Lied Center of Kansas. The lecture is open to the public. Ken Starr, the former independent counsel whose investigations led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, will give a public talk next week at the University of Kansas School of Law. Starr will speak at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 19, at the Stinson Morrison Hecker Lecture Hall in 104 Green Hall. The event is free and open to the public, and lunch will be provided.

Robert Herndon

Herndon was a key officer in the investigation that is now the basis for the movie "The Informant," starring Matt Damon. The case, an investigation of price-fixing at Archer Daniels Midland Co., involved the highest ranking corporate executive ever to turn whistleblower in U.S. history.

After graduating from the School of Business with degrees in business administration and accounting, Herndon joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a special agent in 1986. In addition to his investigation of the case that would become a major motion picture, Herndon also played a large role in the investigation and conviction of a Kansas City-area pharmacist who diluted chemotherapy drugs intended for cancer patients.

Herndon has received numerous citations and awards in recognition of his outstanding work with the FBI, including the U.S. Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award, the National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation and FBI Agent of the Year for the Kansas City Division. Currently, Herndon is assigned to the White Collar Crime Squad in the Kansas City FBI Field Office.

The Anderson Chandler Lecture Series is offered each year by the KU School of Business. It began in 1997 and is made possible by School of Business alumnus Anderson Chandler.

Chandler is CEO, president and director of Fidelity State Bank and Trust Co. of Topeka and vice president and director of First Bank of Newton. He has received the school's Distinguished Alumni Award and has remained actively involved at the university and the School of Business.

Although Starr is perhaps best known for his work as the independent counsel who investigated President Clinton during the 1990s, he has led a notable legal career. After graduating from the Duke University School of Law, he served as a clerk to Judge David W. Dyer on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and then to Chief Justice Warren Burger of the U.S. Supreme Court. He then worked for a private law firm and, later, as a counselor to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith before President Ronald Regan appointed him as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where he served for six years. Starr was then appointed to be U.S. solicitor general by President George H.W. Bush, a position he held until 1993.

Starr’s most publicized work centered on his investigations of President Clinton, beginning with the continuation of an investigation of the president’s real estate dealings. Starr’s investigation then expanded to include a variety of claims against the president and his staff, including the firing of employees in the White House Travel Office, potential misuse of confidential FBI files, Paula Jones’ sexual harassment allegations, the death of White House Deputy Counsel Vince Foster and, most importantly, possible perjury by the president to cover up a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. This last investigation led to the first impeachment of an elected president in U.S. history. Ironically, Starr shared Time magazine’s Man of the Year accolade with President Clinton in 1998, the year the president was impeached.

Starr now is dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law, a position he has held since 2004. He also remains active in high-profile litigation, including defending against the lawsuit to overturn California’s Proposition 8, launching a legal challenge against the McCain-Feingold Act, representing Blackwater Security Consulting in a case involving deaths of its employees in Fallujah, Iraq, and defending the Juneau, Alaska, school district in a First Amendment case that centered on the right of a student to display a banner that declared “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” near a school event.

“The Federalist Society is very excited and proud to have brought someone as well-known and accomplished as Mr. Starr to KU,” said Brandon Smith, president of KU’s chapter of the Federalist Society, which is co-sponsoring the event with the law school. “I’m sure that Mr. Starr’s talk will be exciting because students and faculty have strong opinions about him and will take a real interest in what he has to say.”

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