Carl Levin

Carl Levin

Chair, Levin Center at Wayne Law; Distinguished Legislator in Residence

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levincenter@wayne.edu

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Carl Levin

Biography

Carl Levin is Michigan's longest-serving U.S. senator (Jan. 3, 1979, to Jan. 3, 2015). He is chair of the Levin Center at Wayne Law and serves as the Law School's distinguished legislator in residence, co-teaching courses on various subjects, including tax law and policy and legislative process and oversight. In addition, he is senior counsel to Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP.

In his 36-year Senate career, Levin earned respect from his colleagues on both sides of the political aisle for his integrity, resourcefulness and diligence, and ability to build consensus. He became one of the nation's most respected leaders on national security, a powerful voice for equality and justice, and a fighter for economic fairness.

In the Senate, his top priority was the economic well-being of Michigan families. He was a consistent voice for support of American manufacturing and was one of the Senate's strongest advocates for policies that would help American manufacturers compete globally. He was also co-chair of the Senate Auto Caucus.

Another of Levin's signature issues was protecting Michigan's diverse natural environment. As co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, he successfully worked to increase funding for Great Lakes environmental restoration and to preserve the natural, historical and cultural legacy of the lakes, including historic lighthouses. He supported Great Lakes harbors, played a leading role in helping found the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Keweenaw National Historical Park, and successfully passed legislation to preserve Michigan wilderness areas, including Sleeping Bear Dunes lakeshore.

As chair of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, he held public and private institutions to high standards of accountability, rooting out waste, fraud and abuse. He was known for carrying out bipartisan, fact-based and fair inquiries that led to meaningful reforms. His landmark Enron investigation supported passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, strengthening U.S. financial reporting and accounting rules. The Levin-led subcommittee produced the only bipartisan report on key causes of the 2008 financial crisis, paved the way for credit card reforms that benefited millions of families and held hearings that helped break the filibuster of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, eventually leading to the most significant financial market reforms in a generation.

As chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Levin focused on taking care of the men and women of the military and their families, supporting pay raises and improvements in treatment and other policies for wounded warriors. He led oversight efforts to improve efficiency and reduce cost overruns in expensive weapons programs. He opposed the resolution giving Congressional authorization to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, offering an alternative resolution that would have given time for U.N. inspectors to complete their search for weapons of mass destruction and require the administration to seek international support before taking military action. He supported military action to eliminate the al-Qaida threat in Afghanistan. He consistently supported policies that would encourage Afghan leaders to take responsibility for their nation's security.

Levin was honored as one of Time's 10 best senators. His many awards and honorary degrees include the Detroit Free Press/Metropolitan Affairs Coalition Neal Shine Award for Exemplary Regional Leadership, 2014; Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award, 2014; Detroit Branch NAACP James Weldon Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award, 2014; Michigan Association of Broadcasters Distinguished Lifetime of Public Service Award, 2014; Michigan League of Conservation Voters Lifetime Achievement Award, 2014; Anti-Defamation League of Michigan Torch of Liberty Award, 2014; Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Foundation's Four Freedoms Medal, 2007; Global Service Award, World Affairs Council, 2007; National Marine Sanctuary Stewardship Award, 2005; National Guard Association of the U.S. Harry S. Truman Award, 2004; and Secretary of the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award, 2003.

Before being elected to the Senate, he was a member and president of the Detroit City Council. He also served as the first general counsel of Michigan's Civil Rights Commission, after which he was special assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan and chief appellate defender for the Legal Aid and Defenders Association of Detroit. At that time, the association was the largest provider of legal services to low- and moderate-income people in Michigan and one of the largest in the nation.

Levin earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Swarthmore College and a law degree from Harvard Law School. Wayne State University recognized Levin with an honorary degree in 2005. In 1961, he married Barbara Halpern, a 1977 graduate of Wayne Law. They raised three daughters, Kate, Laura and Erica, and seek to spend as much time as they can with their six grandchildren.

Degrees and Certifications

J.D., Harvard Law School
B.A., Swarthmore College

Accomplishments

  • Carl Levin

    wrote an op-ed with Richard Lugar for Roll Call, “Democrats Can’t Check the White House. Neither Can Republicans.”

  • Carl Levin

    spoke at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2018 Detroit Policy Conference, which focused on creating a culture of civility in Detroit. Watch Levin’s discussion here.

  • Carl Levin

    was appointed as a facilitator for a class-action lawsuit stemming from the Flint water crisis by U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Judith Levy. Read more here.

  • Carl Levin

    was honored for his "uncompromising dedication to the nation's defense and its men and women in uniform." Defense Secretary Ash Carter also dedicated the Levin-Warner Legislative Affairs Suite in the Pentagon. Levin, Michigan's longest-serving senator, served in the Senate for 36 years, including as a member and nine-year chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

  • Carl Levin

    presented the keynote speech at TaxCOOP, co-sponsored by and presented at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. TaxCOOP is an international nonpartisan conference on tax competition and the weaknesses of the current international tax system. Text of Levin's speech (as prepared prior to delivery).

  • Carl Levin

    presented the luncheon keynote address at the Historical Society of Michigan's annual local history conference. His talk was titled, "Reflections on Representing Michigan" and he spoke about his 36 years in the Senate.

  • Carl Levin

    received the 2016 Wade H. McCree Jr. Award for the Advancement of Social Justice from the Federal Bar Association Eastern District of Michigan Chapter. Levin received the award at a luncheon where he also was keynote speaker.

  • Carl Levin

    was recognized by the Detroit Police Athletic League. They presented him the Dave Bing "Leadership" award for securing a $3 million federal grant for the redevelopment of the historic Tiger Stadium.

In the news

  • Carl Levin

    wrote an opinion article titled “Congress dangerously wields its oversight power in Russia probe” for The Hill.

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  • Carl Levin

    wrote “Congress is falling short on its oversight duties” for the Detroit Free Press.

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  • Carl Levin

    wrote “Congress needs bipartisanship to fully investigate Russian influence” for The Hill.

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  • Carl Levin

    wrote “Congress must not give companies tax reasons to move jobs overseas” for The Hill.

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted by The Wall Street Journal for its report, "Bipartisan Conclusions to Election-Meddling Probes May Be Elusive."

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  • Carl Levin

    was featured in Roll Call's report, titled, "The Levin Legacy: Next-Gen Congressional Oversight."

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  • Carl Levin

    wrote, "Congress must press forward with its Russia investigation," for The Hill.

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  • Carl Levin

    wrote, "For the sake of American taxpayers, companies must pay their fair share," for The Hill.

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  • Carl Levin

    wrote, "Devin Nunes has jeopardized the oversight role of Congress," in a column for The Hill.

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  • Carl Levin

    co-wrote with former U.S. Senator John Warner, "The Right Way to Investigate Russia's Election Meddling," for Politico Magazine.

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted by the Associated Press for its report, "Credibility of Congress' Russia probes still in question."

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  • Carl Levin

    wrote, "A package proposal for repatriation," for The Hill.

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  • Carl Levin

    wrote a column, "The United States should fight against tax dodgers, not for them," for The Washington Post.

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted by Politico for its report, "Levin: IRS should have gone after Apple for taxes before EU."

  • Carl Levin

    was quoted by MarketWatch for its report, "Republicans and Democrats agree: EU tax case against Apple is ‘awful'."

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted by The Guardian for its report, "Apple to shareholders: order to pay back $14.5bn in taxes 'will be overturned'."

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  • Carl Levin

    was interviewed by The American Interest for its report, "Cleaning up the financial world."

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  • Carl Levin

    was mentioned in news reports about Wayne State receiving a $200,000 grant for the Levin Center. Reports ran in Houston Chronicle, Detroit Legal News and The Washington Times.

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted extensively in TaxNotes for its report, "Beneficial Ownership is Urgent U.S. Issue, Ex-Senator Levin Says."

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  • Carl Levin

    was a guest on Washington Journal, C-SPAN's morning call-in program. He spoke about corporate tax evasion.

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted in a McClatchy report, "Obama proposes to close loopholes amid Panama Papers."

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  • Carl Levin

    spoke with Paul W. Smith at WJR-AM. Levin spoke about the honor of having a U.S. naval ship named for him.

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  • Carl Levin

    was cited in a Bloomberg BNA report, "Wyden Opening Tax Evasion Inquiry Based on Panama Leak."

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  • Carl Levin

    was featured at MLive.com for its report, "U.S. Navy destroyer named after former U.S. Senator Carl Levin in Detroit."

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  • Carl Levin

    was featured in the Detroit Free Press for its report, "Navy honors Carl Levin with naming of ship."

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  • Carl Levin

    was featured in The Detroit News for its report, "Carl Levin overwhelmed by naval destroyer in his name."

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  • Carl Levin

    was featured in over 150 local, national and international media outlets after the U.S. Navy announced it will name a destroyer after the former senator.

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  • Carl Levin

    was noted in George Weeks' column, titled "Politics as a family affair," for the Traverse City Record Eagle.

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted in Turkish Weekly for its report, "Ex-US Senator: Don't Waste Panama Papers Scandal."

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  • Carl Levin

    and Elise Bean, interim co-director of the Levin Center, were quoted by The Guardian for its report, "New Treasury rule could make it easier to hide money in the US, critics say."

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted in a Voice of America report titled, "Ex-US Senator: Don't Waste Panama Papers Scandal."

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  • Carl Levin

    wrote an op-ed for The Guardian titled, "We mustn't let this Panama Papers anger go to waste."

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted in The Columbus Dispatch for its report, "Crux of the matter: Who are the true owners of shell companies?"

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted by McClatchy DC for its report, "The crux over shell companies: Who are the true owners?"

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  • Carl Levin

    was featured in the Detroit Legal News for its report about the Levin Center at Wayne Law panel discussion titled, "Mindful Lawyering: The Ethics of Knowing When to Say No."

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  • Carl Levin

    was cited in Foreign Policy magazine for its report, "Mossack Fonseca's Willful Ignorance."

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  • Carl Levin

    will have a naval destroyer named after him. The Associated Press reported on this honor to be bestowed on the former chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the news has been published and broadcast nationwide in nearly 50 media outlets including: San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, Military Times, and Albany Times Union. The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press also did stories.

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  • Carl Levin

    spoke with the BBC about the huge leak of offshore financial documents from Panama and what he believes to be a renewed will to tackle tax havens globally.

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted by the Miami Herald for its report, "Panama Papers: Secret offshores trace back to Brickell condo featured on 'Miami Vice.'"

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted by The Detroit News for its report, "Levin: Michigan's primary influence a stroke of luck."

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted by CBS MoneyWatch for its report, "Is Delaware home to a "grand corruption?"

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted by The Detroit News for its report, "Old Tiger Stadium to host youth sports, artificial turf."

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted by The Detroit Free Press for its report, "Detroit PAL to use artificial turf at stadium site."

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  • Carl Levin

    appeared on CBS' 60 Minutes for its report, "Anonymous, Inc." Levin spoke to correspondent Steve Kroft about the ease with which questionable money flows into the U.S. and legislation he proposed to curb it.

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  • Carl Levin

    was interviewed by host Chuck Stokes on WXYZ Detroit. Levin shared his thoughts on the Flint water crisis.

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  • Carl Levin

    was quoted by The Columbus Dispatch for its report, "Should Iowa, New Hampshire get first say in presidential choice?"

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  • Carl Levin

    co-authored an op-ed titled, "Congress got it wrong on unjustified corporate tax loopholes," which appeared in The Hill. 

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  • Carl Levin

    co-authored an op-ed, "A modest proposal to restore bipartisanship to SOTU" which appeared in Politico. 

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