Advisory Board

Jonathan Williams, Chief Economist and Vice President, American Legislative Exchange Council


Jonathan Williams is the Chief Economist and Vice President for the Center for State Fiscal Reform at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where he works with state policymakers, congressional leaders and members of the private sector to develop fiscal policy solutions for the states. Williams also co-authors Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer Economic State Competitiveness Index with Reagan economist Dr. Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore. Prior to joining ALEC, Williams served as staff economist at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, authoring numerous tax policy studies.
Williams’s work has appeared in many publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Investor’s Business Daily. He is a contributing columnist to Tax Analysts, the leading provider of tax news and analysis for the global community. He has written for the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. In addition, Williams was a contributing author of In Defense of Capitalism (Northwood University Press).
Williams has testified before numerous legislative bodies and spoken to audiences across America. He is frequent guest on talk radio shows and has appeared on numerous television outlets, including the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Fox Business News and Bloomberg News. Williams was also the recipient of the prestigious Ludwig von Mises Award in Economics.
Williams has visited all 50 states and regularly travels more than 100,000 miles a year. While on the road, he is a connoisseur of local and regional food across the state capitals.

    The Honorable Tom Coburn, Retired U.S. Senator – Oklahoma


    Tom A. Coburn, M.D. was elected on November 4, 2004 to represent Oklahoma in the United States Senate. Dr. Coburn and his wife, Carolyn, a former Miss Oklahoma, were married in 1968 and have three children and four grandchildren. They attend First Baptist Church of Muskogee, Oklahoma. As a citizen legislator, Coburn has pledged to serve no more than two terms in the Senate. He returns home to Oklahoma each weekend, and continues to care for patients in Muskogee as the Senate schedule permits.
    During the years serving in the Senate, Dr. Coburn became the leader in the fight to reduce wasteful Washington spending, to increase accountability and transparency for all taxpayers, to restore Constitutional government, and to make health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans. In addition, Dr. Coburn fought to protect the sanctity of life, and has led he charge to promote private property rights. He was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Intelligence Committee, the Indian Affairs Committee and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
    Bringing his Oklahoma independence to the Capitol, Dr. Coburn successfully challenged the broken culture of Washington. He offered more amendments than any other senator to stop out of control spending and to protect the liberties recognized by our Founders. His efforts helped to expose business as usual in Washington including the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" and countless other special projects that were intended to enrich lobbyists and preserve the jobs of careers politicians in both political parties. His work on behalf of taxpayers saved billions of dollars. Additionally, Dr. Coburn led the charge for transparency and accountability in our nation's capital. In 2006, he teamed with then-Senator Barack Obama to pass the most sweeping transparency legislation in a decade. His legislation led to the creation of, an online tool for taxpayers to search and track all federal spending.
    From 1995-2001 Dr. Coburn represented Oklahoma's 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was first elected in 1994, then re-elected in 1996 and 1998, becoming the first Republican to hold the seat for consecutive terms. A family physician, Coburn was a Member of the Committee on Commerce where he sat on the subcommittees on Health & Environment, as vice-chairman, Energy & Power and Oversight and Investigations. Near the end of 2001, after the completion of his third congressional term, Coburn was chosen to be Co-chair of the President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
    Described by newspapers as a budget hawk, Coburn made balancing the budget a top priority. He played a central role in Medicare and health care debates. Coburn also founded and served as co-chairman of the congressional Family Caucus, a group of about 60 members of the House dedicated to family issues. An avid supporter of congressional reform, Coburn declined his government pension and health care benefits and supported legislation to limit perks to all member of Congress. Despite his short tenure Coburn wrote and passed far-reaching legislation. One Coburn bill encouraged the testing of infants for HIV. The Wall Street Journal said that: "In 10 long years of AIDS politics and funding, this is actually the first legislation to pass in this country that will rescue babies." Coburn also has written legislation that would provide senior citizens more health care choices, while also seeking to crack down on Medicare fraud and abuse.
    Coburn was raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma and graduated from the public school System in 1966. Four years later, he graduated with a B.S. in Accounting from Oklahoma State University. One of the top ten seniors in the School of Business, Coburn served as President of the College of Business Student Council. From 1970-1978, Coburn was the manufacturing manager at the Ophthalmic Division of Coburn Optical Industries in Colonial Heights, Virginia. Under his leadership, the Virginia division of Coburn Optical grew from 13 employees to more than 350 and captured 35% of the U.S. market. After the business was sold, Coburn changed the course of his life by returning to school to become a physician. Again he emerged as a leader, becoming President of his class at the University of Oklahoma Medical School where he graduated in 1983. He then did his internship in general surgery at Saint Anthony's Hospital in Oklahoma City and family practice residency at the University of  Arkansas, Fort Smith. Coburn resides in Muskogee where he specializes in family medicine, obstetrics and allergy. Dr. has personally delivered more than 4000 babies.

      The Honorable John Ashcroft, Former U.S. Attorney General


      Former U.S. Attorney General, Governor and U.S. Senator John Ashcroft serves as founder and Chairman of The Ashcroft Group and The Ashcroft Law Firm (together, the "Firm"). Together with the select group of seasoned, respected and experienced senior executives he recruited to join him - many of whom helped to lead the U.S. Department of Justice during a significant time in our nation's history - the Firm has earned a reputation for integrity and a track record for accelerating successful resolutions of even the most complex matters. With a focus on issues of integrity and corporate governance, the Firm provides compliance advice, legal counsel and consulting services to world-leading clients, including Fortune 500 companies, multi-national corporations and corporate executives.
      As Attorney General, and the U.S. Justice Department's CEO, Mr. Ashcroft led the world's largest and foremost international law firm and law enforcement agency-an organization larger than most Fortune 500 companies, with over 122,000 employees. Mr. Ashcroft integrated strategic planning, budgeting and performance measures, which resulted in the DOJ earning a clean audit for the first time in its history.
      Mr. Ashcroft boldly led the Department of Justice through the transformational period after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He subsequently reorganized the Department to focus on its number one priority: preventing terrorism. The tough antiterrorism campaign he directed helped keep America safe throughout his tenure and resulted in the dismantling of terrorist cells across America and the disruption of over 150 terrorist plots worldwide.
      Within two months of the attacks, and with financial markets still reeling, the unprecedented corporate scandals at ENRON, WorldCom and dozens more unfolded, further destabilizing the weakened economy. John Ashcroft was called upon to restore America's faith in the integrity of our marketplace. He marshaled the resources of the federal government to bring to justice those guilty of massive corporate fraud. At all times, he demanded that cases be brought swiftly, with appropriate serious penalties-always taking into account the best interests of the employees and shareholders whose lives were most directly affected.
      From 1985 to 1993, as Governor of Missouri, Ashcroft balanced eight consecutive budgets, built a $120 million budget surplus and established a $190 million operating reserve. His management and fiscal integrity helped generate 338,000 new jobs state-wide, a triple-A bond rating from the three major Wall Street rating agencies, a per capita state and local tax burden ranked 49th in the United States and a 12 percent increase in personal income. His new education performance standards led Fortune magazine to name him as one of the nation's top ten Education Governors. In 1991, the non-partisan National Governors Association voted him Chairman.
      Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994, he brought his management skills to Washington where he authored budget rules protecting Social Security and Medicare and helped balance the federal budget for the first time in decades. As a member of the Senate Judiciary, Foreign Relations and Commerce Committees, he worked to reform laws regulating the banking, telecommunications, aviation, transportation and information technology industries.
      In 1973, Mr. Ashcroft served as Missouri Auditor, followed by two terms as Missouri Attorney General. He was raised in Springfield, Missouri, received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago.