Skip to Main Content
Project on Government Oversight

Congressional Oversight Training Series—Past Topics and Resources

ABOUT THE TRAINING SEMINARS: The briefing seminars are designed to provide a way for Congressional staff to learn how to conduct effective oversight and investigations. 

The recorded comments of seminar presenters are soley their own opinions and do not reflect those official positions of their congressional office.

2014 Series Review

2013 Series Review

2012 Series Review

2011 Series Review

2009-2010 Series Review

2007-2008 Series Review

2006-2007 Series Review

  2014 Series Review

July 25, 2014 | What You Need to Know When Working with Intelligence Community Whistleblowers

Presenters:

  • Tristan Leavitt, Investigative Counsel, Minority, for the Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Dan Meyer, Executive Director for Intelligence Community Whistleblowing & Source Protection (ICW&SP), Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General (Running time 12:48 minutes) Click here to listen to Mr. Meyer's comments

Resource Handouts: Title 50 Disclosure Procedures and 113th House Rules and 113th Senate Rules and Lloyd LaFollette Act

Additional Resources: Presidential Policy Directive 19 and Intelligence Community Directive 120 IC Whistleblower Protection and Intelligence Community Inspector General External Review Panel Procedures


June 27, 2014 | How to Work Effectively with Inspectors General

Presenters:

  • Gene Aloise, Deputy Inspector General, Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Running time: 6:30 minutes) Click here to listen to Mr. Aloise's comments.
  • Emilia DiSanto, Acting Deputy Inspector General, Department of State

May 30, 2014 | What You Need to Know about Classified, Proprietary, and Other Information

Presenters:

  • Jason Foster, Chief Investigative Counsel, Minority, Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Krista Boyd, Counsel for the Minority, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: 5 USC 552 Section d and 113th House Rules and 113th Senate Rules and Congressional Access to Classified Info Tip Sheet and Congressional Rights to Access to Classified and Other Restricted Information and Piercing the Corporate Veil: Investigating Public and Private Companies


April 25, 2014 | Overseeing Defense Spending

Presenters:

  • Jeremy Hayes, military legislative assistant for Senator John McCain, and former military legislative assistant for Senator Tom Coburn and Senator Ted Cruz, and former research analyst for the Army’s legislative affairs office.
  • Comments by Winslow Wheeler, former staffer on national security issues for Senators Jacob K. Javits (R-NY), Nancy L. Kassebaum (R-KS), David Pryor (D-AR), and Pete V. Domenici (R-NM); and former GAO staffer during which time he directed comprehensive studies on the 1991 Gulf War air campaign, the U.S. strategic nuclear triad, and weapons testing. (Running time: 12:12 minutes) Click here to listen to Mr. Wheeler's comments.

Resource Handout: "Congressional Oversight: Willing and Able or Willing to Enable?" by Winslow T. Wheeler, The Pentagon Labyrinth: 10 Short Essays to Help You Through It, Center for Defense Information/World Security Institute, February 2011 and "Decoding the Defense Budget" by Winslow T. Wheeler, The Pentagon Labyrinth: 10 Short Essays to Help You Through It, Center for Defense Information/World Security Institute, February 2011 and 2015 Budget Data PowerPoint, by Winslow T. Wheeler


February 28, 2014 | How to Oversee the Intelligence Community

Presenters:

  • John Dickas, Intelligence Staffer for Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)
  • Bart Forsyth, Chief of Staff for Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)

No audio available for this seminar


January 24, 2014 | How to Oversee Federal Spending

Presenters:

  • Sarah Garcia, Majority Counsel, Senate Financial and Contracting Oversight Subcommittee
  • Kathryn Edelman, Senior Investigator for the Minority, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: Federal Contracting Investigative Tips and "Follow the Money Trail," by POGO's Neil Gordon and Scott Amey, The IRE Journal, Volume 34, Issue 3, Summer 2011

 2013 Series Review

September 27, 2013 | Tools You Can Use to Conduct Oversight

Presenters:

  • Scott Amey, General Counsel, Project On Government Oversight
  • Daniel Schuman, Policy Director, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
  • Michael Smallberg, Investigator, Project On Government Oversight

Resource Handout: Useful Databases for Conducting Oversight and Federal Contracts: Online databases contain treasure chest of information and About TRAC


July 26, 2013 | How to Hold an Oversight Hearing

Presenters:

Resource Handout:

Do’s and Don’ts of an Oversight Hearing
Framing Questions: What to Ask, How to Ask It, and How to Follow Up
Additional Resources
Highlights of Hearing Planning, by Eric Hannel
Suggested Steps in Preparing an Oversight Hearing, by Elise Bean
Witness List, by Elise Bean
Chart 1 Summary of Wannemacher Account, by Elise Bean
Chart 2 Example of Interest Charges on Credit Card Debt, by Elise Bean
Press Release of PSI Credit Card Hearing, by Elise Bean
Memo to PSI Staff Liaisons on Credit Card Hearing, by Elise Bean


June 21, 2013 | The Nuts and Bolts of Conducting Oversight

Presenters: 

  • Keith Ashdown, Staff Director, Minority, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
  • Michal Ilana Freedhoff, Ph.D., Policy Director for the Office of Representative Edward J. Markey

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: Checklist of Places to Turn During an Investigation and Questions and Answers on Conducting Oversight


May 31, 2013 | Working with Insiders and Whistleblowers

Presenters: 

  • Jason Foster, Chief Investigative Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Adam Miles, Director of Policy and Congressional Affairs at the Office of Special Counsel; formerly a professional staff member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: Working with Insiders and Whistleblowers and Hands off the Whistleblower Letter from Senator Chuck Grassley, January 2011 and Office of Special Counsel Information Sheet


April 26, 2013 | Congressional Oversight: What It Means and How to Make It Work

Presenters: 

  2012 Series Review

July 27, 2012 | Tools You Can Use to Conduct Oversight

Presenters: 

  • Scott Amey, General Counsel of Project On Government Oversight. Directs POGO’s contract oversight investigations, which include reviews of federal spending on goods and services, the responsibility of top federal contractors, and ethics concerns and conflicts of interest that have led to questionable contract awards.
  • Hudson Hollister, founder and Executive Director of the Data Transparency Coalition. Prior to founding the Data Transparency Coalition, he served as counsel to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives and as an attorney fellow in the Office of Interactive Disclosure at the Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Craig Jennings, Director of the Federal Fiscal Policy program at OMB Watch, is an expert in federal spending transparency and the federal budget process.

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: Useful Databases for Conducting Oversight and About TRAC


June 22, 2012 | Are Your Witnesses Better Prepared than You Are?

Presenters: 

  • Michael F. Barrett, Jr., Consultant and strategic advisor to major corporations involved in a wide range of businesses; former Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Mark Paoletta, Partner at Dickstein Shapiro’s Government Law & Strategy Group and leads the firm’s Congressional Investigations Practice. Former Chief Counsel for the House Committee on Energy & Commerce’s Oversight and Investigations and Assistant Counsel to the President during the George H.W. Bush Administration

No audio available for this seminar


May 12, 2012 | Are Your Witnesses Better Prepared than You Are?

Presenters: 

  • Margaret Daum, Staff Director for the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, a subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee
  • Hudson Hollister, founder and Executive Director of the Data Transparency Coalition, and former counsel to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the U.S. House of Representatives

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: “Federal Contracts: Online databases contain treasure chest of information,” by POGO's Neil Gordon and Scott Amey, The IRE Journal, Volume 34, Number 3, Summer 2011


March 23, 2012 | How to Make Sure You're Asking the Right Questions

Presenters: 

  • John F. Sopko, co-head of the congressional investigations practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, and former longtime senior congressional and executive branch staffer
  • Paul Thacker, former investigator on the Finance Committee for Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: Sample Letters

February 24, 2012 | How To Work With The Media

Presenters: 

  2011 Series Review

November 18, 2011 | Personal Offices & Oversight: What You Can Do

Presenters: 

  • Michal Ilana Freedhoff, Ph.D., Policy Director, Office of Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-MA)
  • Paul Thacker, former investigator on the Finance Committee for Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and current investigator at the Project On Government Oversight

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout
: Elements of a Congressional Investigation


September 30, 2011 | How to Prepare for an Oversight Hearing

Presenters: 

  • Ruth Fleischer, Adjunct Professor in the Legislative Practicum/Congressional Internship Program University of Maryland School of Law
  • Mark Paoletta, Partner in Dickstein Shapiro’s Government Law & Strategy Group and leads the firm’s Congressional Investigations Practice. Former Chief Counsel for the House Committee on Energy & Commerce’s Oversight and Investigations and Assistant Counsel to the President during the George H.W. Bush Administration

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout
: Framing Questions: What to Ask, How to Ask It, and How to Follow Up and Do’s and Don’ts of an Oversight Hearing


July 22, 2011 | Working with Insiders and Whistleblowers

Presenters: 

  • Adam Miles, Director of Policy and Congressional Affairs at the Office of Special Counsel; formerly a professional staff member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
  • Jason Foster, Chief Investigative Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout
: Working with Insiders and Whistleblowers and OSC Information Sheet


June 24, 2011 | You’ve Got the Power: Congressional Rights to Access Classified, Proprietary, and Other Types of Information

Presenters: 

  • Emilia DiSanto, formerly Chief Investigative Counsel and Special Counsel for Senate Committee on Finance: Chair/Ranking, Charles Grassley; currently with the Office of Inspector General for Federal Housing Finance Agency
  • Scott Lindsay, Counsel, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout
:
5 USC 552, Section (d)
Congressional Tip Sheet on Access to Classified Information
Access to Classified and Other Restricted Information: Congressional Rights
Piercing the Corporate Veil: Investigating Public and Private Companies


May 20, 2011 | Oversight of the Department of Defense

Presenters: 

  • Jeremy Hayes, Military Legislative Assistant, Senator Tom Coburn
  • Peter Tyler, Professional Staff, Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management
  • Winslow Wheeler, Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information, and former professional staff member who worked on national security issues for both Republican and Democratic Senators

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: Navigating the Pentagon’s Budget Labyrinth: DOD’s Budget Bible Hides and Growth and Provokes Excess Spending, by Winslow T. Wheeler


April 29, 2011 | Making the Most of Your Resources: CRS, GAO, and IGs

Presenters: 

  • Jonathan Gill, Assistant Director at the Government Accountability Office
  • Louis Fisher, former Specialist in Constitutional Law at the Law Library and former Senior Specialist in Separation of Powers at the Congressional Research Service
  • David Kotz, Inspector General, Securities and Exchange Commission

No audio available for this seminar


March 25, 2011 | The Nuts and Bolts of Conducting Oversight

Presenters: 

  • Jack Mitchell, Chief of Oversight and Investigations, Senate Special Committee on Aging
  • Keith Ashdown, Chief Investigator to the Minority, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: Checklist of Places to Turn to During an Investigation and Questions and Answers on Conducting Oversight, by Ruth Fleischer


February 7, 2011 | Congressional Oversight: What It Means and How to Make It Work

Presenters: 

Resource Handout:

The Art of Congressional Oversight: A User's Guide to Doing It Right, published by POGO, and When Congress Comes Calling: A Primer on the Principles, Practices, and Pragmatics of Legislative Inquiry, published by The Constitution Project.
Co-hosted by The Constitution Project and the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). 

2009-2010 Series Review 

June 25, 2010  Advanced Seminar: Oversight of the Financial Sector A Year Later

Presenters:

  • Justin Rood, Senior Investigator, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (Minority)
  • Damon Silvers, Member, Congressional Oversight Panel; Director of Policy and Special Council, AFL-CIO
No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: Financial Oversight Resources and Letter to Members of the Financial Reform Conference Committee,Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and HouseCommittee on Financial Services from Project On Government Oversight, June 9, 2010


March 26, 2010  Advanced Seminar: What Congress Needs to Know About Inherently Governmental Functions

Presenters:

  • Cathy Garman, Professional Staff, House Armed Services Committee (Majority)
  • Scott Amey, Project On Government Oversight. Click here to listen to Mr. Amey's remarks.
  • Janine R. Wedel, Professor, School of Public Policy, George Mason University; Senior Research Fellow, New America Foundation, and author of the new book, SHADOW ELITE: How the World's New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market

Resource Handout: What Congress Needs to Know About Inherently Governmental Functions and Privatization


February 19, 2010  Key Ingredients for Effective Oversight of Disaster Relief

Presenters Include:


January 22, 2010  Appropriations - Using the Power of the Purse to Do Oversight

Presenters Include:

  • Scott Burnison, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Homeland Security, IT, and Civic Agencies for Lockheed Martin, and former Staff for the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee. Click here to listen to Mr. Burnison's remarks. 
  • Scott Lilly, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress,and former Clerk and Staff Director of the House Appropriations Committee, Minority Staff Director of that Committee, Executive Director of the House Democratic Study Group, Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee and Chief of Staff in the Office of Congressman David Obey. Click here to listen to Mr. Lilly's remarks. 
  • Jerry Kammer,  Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, former journalist at The Arizona Republic and Copley News Service, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2006. Click here to listen to Mr. Kammer's remarks.

November 20, 2009 - The Nuts n' Bolts of a Good Investigation

Seminar Objectives: To learn how to conduct meaningful oversight from a personal office; To identify the dangers of partisan investigations; To be sure your investigation is asking the right questions; How to work with nontraditional oversight partners

Presenters Include:


October 16, 2009 - Beginning Seminar: How to Prepare For An Oversight Hearing

Presenters include:


September 18, 2009 - Conducting Oversight in a Partisan Environment

Presenters:

  • Lawrence J. Halloran, former Staff Director (Republican) of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (110th Congress) and Staff Director/Counsel of the Subcommittee on National Security (1999-2006).
  • John F. Sopko, Partner at Akin Gump, and former Chief Counsel for Oversight and Investigations for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce for the 110th Congress
No audio available for this seminar

July 16, 2009 -  Congress vs. the President: The Scope and Limits of Congressional Oversight Powers  (held at the National Press Club, Washington DC) Click here to listen to the panels remarks.

[The proper role of the legislature is] to watch and control the government; to throw the light of publicity on its acts; to compel a full exposition and justification of all of them which any one considers questionable; to censure them if found condemnable.
– John Stuart Mill

Presenters:

  • Mickey Edwards; former Member of Congress (R-OK), 1977-1993
  • Morton Rosenberg; author/contributor to the handbooks; former Specialist in American Law at the Congressional Research Service staffer, and Constitution Project Fellow
  • Chris Shays; former Member of Congress (R-CT), 1987-2009
  • Ronald Weich; Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs for President Barack Obama

July 10, 2009 - Asserting and Defending the Powers of Oversight: The Relative Powers of Congress and the Executive Branch
Panelists will discuss the relative powers of Congress and the Executive Branch in congressional oversight and how to new handbooks provide helpful resources for conducting such oversight.
 
Presenters:

  • Zulima Espinel, Democratic Senior Counsel for National Security, Senate Committee on the Judiciary
  • Beth Nolan, former White House Counsel for President Clinton
  • Mark Paoletta, former Republican Chief Counsel for Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy & Commerce
  • Mort Rosenberg, author/contributor to the handbooks, former Specialist in American Law at the Congressional Research Service staffer, and Constitution Project Fellow
  • Conrad Martin, executive director of the Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust, will serve as moderator
No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: The Art of Congressional Oversight: A User's Guide to Doing It Right, published by POGO this month, and When Congress Comes Calling: A Primer on the Principles, Practices, and Pragmatics of Legislative Inquiry, published by the Constitution Project this month.
  
Co-hosted by the Constitution Project and the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). 


May 2009
Beginning Seminar: You Are Not Alone: Making the Most of Your Resources (CRS, GAO, IG)
Presenters Include: 

  • David Williams, Inspector General, United States Postal Service
  • Jonathan M. Gill, Assistant Director, U.S. GAO
  • Todd Tatelman, Legislative Attorney in the American Law Division of the Congressional Research Service

Advanced Seminar: Tapping into Non-governmental Resources
Presenters Include: 

  • Ryan Alexander, President of Taxpayers for Common Sense
  • David Burnham, co-director of TRAC, an investigative writer and former New York Times reporter
  • Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director for the Center for Responsive Politics
    Paul Thacker, Senate Finance Committee staffer for Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and expert at working with the press
No audio available for this seminar
April 2009
Working with Insiders and Whistleblowers

Presenters: 
  • Adam Miles, professional staff member for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and formerly with the non-profit Government Accountability Project (GAP)
  • Michael German, former FBI agent and whistleblower, and current Policy Counsel on National Security, Immigration and Privacy for the ACLU
  • Jason Foster, Investigative Counsel, Senate Finance Committee
    (Foster shared, as a sample, a letter to an agency warning that efforts to obstruct federal employee’s communication with Congress are against the law, which includes public law citations for the latest appropriations bill and the actual statutory language.)
No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: POGO's Working With Insiders and Whistleblowers Notes


March 20, 2009
Contracting Know-How
Presenters: 

Resource Handout: Federal Contrating: Investigative Tips and Contracting Resources and Publicly Available Information


February 20, 2009 (11:30 AM - 1:00 PM)
Investigations for beginners
Presenters:

Resource Handout: Investigation Checklist
 
Feb. 20, 2009 (1:00- 2:30 PM)
Advanced Seminar -- Oversight of the Financial Sector  
Presenters:

Resource Handout: Consumer Group Contacts; CRS, Regulators and Financial TermsGlossary and Financial Terms; Bailout and Transparency Websites


January 2009
Three Topic Blitz

10 - 11:30 AM - How the Nomination/Confirmation Process can be an Oversight Opportunity
Presenters:

  • Kris Kolesnik, Associate Inspector General for the Department of Interior and former investigative staff for Senator Charles Grassley (IA-R) 
  • Lisa Graves, Deputy Director of the Center for National Security Studies, former Chief Nominations Counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee for the Chairman/Ranking Member, Senator Patrick Leahy
    Handouts at the seminar included: "Congressional Access to Classified National Security Information," Congressional Staff Resources.  
  • Chris Mihm, Strategic Issues Managing Director at the Government Accountability Office 

11:30 - 1:00 PM - The Right Balance of Power: The Responsibility of Congressional Oversight.
Presenters:

1:00 - 2:30 PM - Conducting Oversight from a Personal Office 
Presenters: 

  • Stephen C. Hedger with the office of Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO); Republican staff presenter, TBA;
  • Kris Kolesnik, Associate Inspector General for the Department of Interior and former investigative staff for Senator Charles Grassley (IA-R) 
  • Chris Strohm, national security reporter for Congress Daily Click here to listen to Mr. Strohm's comments

2007-2008 Series Review 

July 2008
Grand Finale with a Return of the POGO Players


Presenters:
June 2008
Appropriations - Using the Power of the Purse to Do Oversight

Presenters:
  • Scott Burnison, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Homeland Security, IT, and Civic Agencies for Lockheed Martin, and former Staff for the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee
  • Scott Lilly, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress,and former Clerk and Staff Director of the House Appropriations Committee, Minority Staff Director of that Committee, Executive Director of the House Democratic Study Group, Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee and Chief of Staff in the Office of Congressman David Obey
  • David Rogers, congressional reporter, Politico
No audio available for this seminar
May 2008
Overcoming Obstacles

Presenters:
  • Jason Foster, with Investigative Counsel for Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley
  • Julian Epstein, former chief minority counsel to the House Judiciary Committee and the majority staff director of the House Government Operations Committee, and current attorney in private practice. Click here to listen to Julian Epstein.
  • Jason Ryan, Producer with ABC News on the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security; Click here to listen to Jason Ryan.

April 2008
Are your witnesses better prepared than you are?

Presenters
:
  • Mark Paoletta, partner with Dickstein Shapiro LLP, and head of its Congressional & Corporate Investigations Practice; Click here to listen to Mark Paoletta.
  • Michael Barrett, currently a consultant. Mr. Barrett was staff director and chief counsel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) for 10 years; Click here to listen to Michael Barrett.
  • Laura Strickler, Producer, CBS News Investigative Unit

March 2008
How to Prepare For An Oversight Hearing

Presenters:

Resource Handout: Dos and Don'ts of and Oversight Hearing


February 2008
You Are Not Alone: Making the Best of Your Resources - GAO, CRS, IG, NGO, & the Media


Presenters:
  • Louis Fisher, Specialist in Constitutional Law, Law Library of the Library of Congress
  • Jonathan M. Gill, Senior Analyst, Natural Resources and Environment Team, GAO
  • Kris Kolesnik, Associate Inspector General for the Department of Interior

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: Checklist of Places to Turn to During an Investigation


January 2008
Piercing the Corporate Veil: Investigating Public and Private Corporations


Presenters:
  • Emilia DiSanto, Chief Investigative Counsel and Special Counsel to Senator Grassley
  • Laura Stuber, Counsel with the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
  • Adam Zagorin, journalist with Time Magazine
No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: Piercing the Corporate Veil: Investigating Public and Private Corporations


December 2007
Working With Insiders/Whistleblowers

Presenters:
  • Michal Ilana Freedhoff, Ph.D. - Freedhoff spent her 1996 MRS/OSA Congressional Science and Engineering fellowship year working for Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and started a Bipartisan Task Force on Nonproliferation. In July 2001, Freedhoff returned to work for Rep. Markey (D-MA) and is now his Policy Director. Click here to listen to Michal Freedhoff
  • Doug Pasternak - Prior to joining the Investigations and Oversight staff of the House Science Committee in September 2006, his reporting resulted in investigations by the Government Accountability Office, both the Department of Justice and Department of Defense's Inspector General's Office and congressional oversight hearings. Click here to listen to Doug Pasternak

November 2007
Don't Let the Fine Print Bore/Scare You Out of Investigating the Contract

Presenters:
  • Sean Davis, Legislative Assistant for Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), overview of using Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS) and other databases resources for contract oversight Click here to listen to Sean Davis
  • Robert O'Harrow, Washington Post reporter and author of Nowhere to Hide
  • Margaret E. Daum, Counsel, House Oversight Committee

Resource Handouts: Dos and Don'ts of an Oversight Hearing and Federal Contracting: POGO's Investigative Tips


October 2007
You've Got The Power: Congressional Rights to Access Classified, Proprietary and Other Types of Information
  • Exercising Congress's power to access classified information
  • Role of subpoena power
  • New terms for non-classified material
  • Power of the purse
Presenters:
Resource Handouts: Congressional Tip Sheet on Access to Classified Information and Access to Classified and Other Restricted Information: Congressional Rights

2006-2007 Series Review 

June 2007
Finding answers using open source databases

  • What databases of government and corporate information are available?
  • Where to turn to for government statistics
  • Navigating complicated government filings

Presenters:

  • Beth Daley, POGO's Director of Investigations
  • Caleb Rowe, POGO Investigator 

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: Finding Answers Using Open Source Databases


April 2007
Framing Questions: Get the most out of your hearings and investigations by learning what to ask, how to ask it, and how to follow up

  • How to ensure the most effective hearing possible
  • Telling a story – how to keep the public interested
  • How to organize your hearings

Presenters:

  • Ruth F. Fleischer, Esq., Adjunct Professor in the Legislative Practicum/Congressional Internship Program University of Maryland School of Law.

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout
: Framing Questions: What to Ask, How to Ask It, and How to Follow Up


March 2007
Working with Insiders and Whistleblowers

  • How whistleblowers can help you do your job better
  • Signs of trouble—conducting early due diligence
  • Inside the fishbowl—the first week in the life of a whistleblower
  • Steps to protect them when they contact your office

Presenters:

  • Michal Ilana Freedhoff, Ph.D., Senior Policy Associate  for Representative Edward J. Markey, former staffer for the House Science and Technology Committee.
  • Dean Zerbe, Tax Counsel and Senior Counsel to Ranking Member of Senate Finance Committee, former Chief Investigative Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: Working with Insiders and Whistleblowers


February 2007
Access and Classified and Other Restricted Information: Congressional Rights

  • What each security clearance term allows individuals to access
  • Exercising Congress's Power to access classified information
  • Understanding State Secrets Privilege

Presenters:

  • Charles Tiefer, Professor of Law, University of Baltimore. Prof. Tiefer is a former solicitor and deputy general counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives. Professor Tiefer served in 1996 as deputy minority counsel on the US House "Bosniagate" investigating sub-committee.
  • Mickey Edwards, Executive Director, Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership. Mickey Edwards, is a lecturer at Princeton University 's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and was a Republican member of Congress from Oklahoma from 1977 to 1992.
No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handouts
: Session Summary; Access to Classified and Other Restricted Information - Congressional Tip Sheet; Presidential Studies Quarterly, Volume 37, Number 1, March 2007
January 2007
Part 2: Piercing the Corporate Veil: Investigating Public and Private Companies
  • How to stand up to corporate attorneys and lobbyists
  • Getting a company to cooperate
  • Understanding corporate jargon and procedures

Presenters:

  • Bob Roach, senior investigator, Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • Eric Thorson, former Chief Investigator for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and Special Assistant to Senate Republican Leader on corporate fraud investigations

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout
: Piercing the Corporate Veil - Lessons Learned


November 2006
Part 1: Hidden Gems: How to Root Out Documents from Uncooperative Agencies and Companies

  • Where to turn beyond the agency's congressional liaison
  • Attracting whistleblowers and insiders 
  • Working with the Inspector General's office

Presenters:

  • Pablo Carrillo, Chief Investigative Counsel for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
  • Doug Pasternak, Professional Staff for the House Science Committee and former Investigative Producer for NBC 

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: Checklist of Places to Turn To During an Investigation

October 2006
How to Prepare for an Oversight Hearing


The seminar convered a mock hearing; pre-interviewing witnesses; making the best use of the Government Accountability Office, Inspectors General and CRS; and how to work with the media before/during/after the hearing.

Presenters:

  • James Grimaldi, Pulitizer Prize winning investigative journalist for the Washington Post
  • Peter Stockton, Senior Investigator for the Project on Government Oversight and former Investigator for the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
  • Alan Slobodin, Deputy Chief of the House Energy and Commerce Committee 

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: The Do's and Don'ts of Preparing for a Hearing


September 2006
Anatomy of Government Contracts: Examining Hurricane Katrina


This inaugural seminar provided information about how to overcome roadblocks to overseeing government contracts and turn government contracting into an issue that motivates your boss and the public.  Topics included:
  • Why no one can see the forest or the trees.  How to get around the roadblocks
  • What Congress needs to know about contracting to do its job well
  • Turning a boring government contract into an issue that motivates your boss and the public

Presenters:

  • Michael McCarthy, Counsel, House Government Reform Committee
  • Kris Kolesnik, former investigator, Senate Judiciary Committee and Senator Grassley
  • Scott Amey, General Counsel, Project On Government Oversight

No audio available for this seminar

Resource Handout: Federal Contracting Resources

 

Click here to go back to the main COTS page