Levin Center at Wayne Law debuts online congressional oversight tutorials

The Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School has launched 16 online tutorials on how to conduct congressional oversight investigations as part of its work to strengthen the effectiveness of legislative oversight efforts.          

The tutorials, transcripts and supplemental materials, which are designed primarily for congressional staff, are available at law.wayne.edu/oversighttraining as part of the Levin Center’s Inside Oversight multimedia library.

“Congressional oversight is as important as ever as a means to investigate complex issues,” said former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, chair of the Levin Center at Wayne Law and the law school’s distinguished legislator in residence. “These online tutorials are intended to provide basic information to congressional staff on how to conduct fact-based, bipartisan, in-depth inquiries.”

Tutorials are 5 to 10 minutes in length and provide fact-finding tips from experienced investigators who worked for Levin during his leadership of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. They address such topics as how to conduct effective interviews, how to handle objections to information requests and how to run a bipartisan inquiry.

The Levin Center holds regular in-person oversight training workshops for congressional staff in collaboration with the Project on Government Oversight and The Lugar Center. The tutorials are intended to complement those workshops. The most recent training was a two-day “Congressional Oversight Boot Camp” on May 31 and June 1. It was the fifth such bipartisan, bicameral boot camp sponsored by the three organizations over the past two years. To date, more than 100 congressional staff members have benefited from the training.

A major effort of the Levin Center at Wayne Law is promoting effective, bipartisan, fact-based oversight by legislatures at the federal, state, local and international levels. The center was formed in honor of Levin’s 36 years of public service in the U.S. Senate, in particular his commitment to in-depth oversight investigations. It is overseen by a bipartisan board of national and Michigan political, legal, and business leaders, including former U.S. Sens. Tom A. Coburn, M.D.; Tom Daschle; Jay Rockefeller; and Olympia J. Snowe. The center is located in Levin’s hometown of Detroit at Wayne State University Law School.

In addition to its focus on oversight, the center sponsors a number of other activities, including conferences, research, academic courses and internships, to promote good governance and civil discourse and to ensure public and private institutions operate with integrity, transparency and accountability. For more information, visit law.wayne.edu/levincenter.

The Levin Center is supported, in part, by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a nonpartisan, private charitable foundation whose Madison Initiative focuses on strengthening democratic values, norms and institutions.

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