The Levin Center at Wayne Law recently released a series of videos on how to conduct congressional oversight investigations. The videos are intended to train Congressional staff on the best practices for conducting “fact-based, bipartisan, in-depth oversight.”
As the Project On Government Oversight has emphasized, Congress has the responsibility, and the imperative, to conduct oversight on behalf of the American people. Today, as civic trust in the government is waning, Members of Congress should fulfill their duty to conduct effective investigations into issues of national import. The Levin Center’s training videos can serve as a vital tool for educating Congress on the most effective ways to accomplish this.
Each tutorial video is dedicated to a single step in the oversight process, from the initial stages of an investigation to introducing legislation based on its results. The instructors, Elise Bean and Zack Schram, are personally familiar with the power and importance of oversight: both served as counsel on the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. They’ve made the lessons of each five- to ten- minute segment easy to apply by supplementing them with transcripts, plan templates, and tip sheets.
The Levin Center is housed at the Wayne State University’s Law School, and was created by former Senator Carl Levin to educate and train students on “their responsibility to ensure public and private institutions operate with integrity, transparency and accountability,” and how to prompt reform through effective oversight. The Levin Center partners with POGO and The Lugar Center to hold Congressional Oversight Boot Camps for Hill staffers twice a year.
The Congressional Oversight Initiative at POGO enhances Congress's ability to conduct effective oversight through congressional trainings and hundreds of informational resources.