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Trials and Tribulations of Living an Ethical Life on Capitol Hill

2237 Rayburn House Office Building

Faith and Law hosted our yearly panel discussion with Capitol Hill veterans to explore ethical issues encountered by Hill staff, especially as they reach senior leadership positions. Panelists shared their stories of success and failure as they navigated the complicated ethical waters of the Hill. Discussion was moderated by Bill Wichterman, President of the board of Faith and Law.


John Cusey is the senior vice president for external relations at AEI. He has two decades of political and policy experience at the state level and in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. Before joining AEI, he served as a senior counselor for policy and legislative affairs in the US Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, Mr. Cusey spent seven years working for Congress as a press secretary, legislative director, and the executive director of a caucus. He has worked on many campaigns, owned a small business, served as a US park ranger, and taught high school AP US government.

Melika Willoughby McKinnis worked in political strategy and communications for nearly the last decade. She held senior positions in both the House and Senate, was Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, served at the State Department, and was Communications Director for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback—a job she first tackled at 24 years old. She holds a B.A. in Politics with honors from Hillsdale College. Ms. McKinnis lives in Washington, DC with her husband Seth, now spending her days with the intensive and rewarding principal of her career, their toddler son.

John Shelton is policy advisor for Advancing American Freedom, an advocacy organization founded by Vice President Mike Pence. He previously spent five years in Congress, working for Congressman Bill Posey and then Senator Mike Lee. Before entering into politics, Mr. Shelton received degrees from Duke University (M.Div., summa cum laude) and the University of Virginia (B.A). He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Katelyn, and their three children.