Seeking to improve the quality of public policy through bipartisan, fact-based congressional oversight investigations, the Project On Government Oversight, Levin Center, and The Lugar Center sponsored an intensive training session for Hill staff, called a “Congressional Oversight Boot Camp.” The first boot camp took place August 11 and 12 in Washington, DC.
“Effective bipartisan oversight is a lost art that needs to be revived,” said Senator Carl Levin (D-MI.), who conducted Senate investigations for over 30 years before retiring last year and who personally opened the boot camp session last week.
“We believe the Oversight Boot Camp has great potential to bolster government accountability and bipartisan cooperation in Congress, and the Lugar Center looks forward to continuing our work in this area with our dedicated partners,” said Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN).
The goal of the oversight boot camp was to foster bipartisan, fact-based, in-depth investigations. Activities included drafting investigative, hearing, and follow-up plans, and working through common investigative problems. The boot camp instructors—two each from Democratic and Republican offices—were former congressional investigators with decades of combined oversight experience.
“POGO is thrilled to partner with the Levin Center and The Lugar Center to advance the quality and effectiveness of congressional oversight,” said POGO executive director Danielle Brian.
The demand for oversight training is strong, bi-cameral, and bipartisan. Within an hour of its being announced, the boot camp was booked to full capacity and had a significant wait list. The final group of 18 staffers came equally from the House and Senate and from both parties. Most were from investigative committees, but a few were from the personal staffs of Members of Congress. They included both junior and senior investigators.