Oversight Boot Camps

A collaboration among the Levin Center, POGO, and The Lugar Center, our twice yearly “Oversight Boot Camps” offer two-day, intensive training sessions for congressional staff on how to conduct oversight investigations.

Overview

Each of these “Oversight Boot Camps” combines staff from the U.S. House and Senate, committees and personal offices, and the Democratic and Republican parties to produce a bipartisan, bicameral experience. To date, close to 300 congressional staff have undergone boot camp instruction on how to do fact-based, bipartisan, in-depth investigations.

Oversight Boot Camps are generally offered in February and August of each year during a week when the U.S. House and Senate are both out of session. Each boot camp lasts two full days, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. when in person and from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. when online.

Interested in attending a boot camp?

To be added to the invitation list for the next boot camp, please email Tim Stretton at tstretton@pogo.org

What previous campers are saying

”I appreciated the depth of expertise of the boot camp, the structure of the process, and the role-playing."

"Definitely exceeded expectations."

"The stories and real-life examples are what made the course come to life."

"[V]ery bipartisan."

“Such a great course.”

Icon, dark green, instructor and blackboard

Meet our bipartisan roster of boot camp instructors

Meet our list of bipartisan boot camp instructors

Boot Camp Materials

Materials used at the Oversight Boot Camp sessions differ over time. The following information is a representative example.

Additional Boot Camp Information

How was the boot camp?

  • “Definitely exceeded expectations.”
  • “Excellent mix of concrete tips & advice, and 50,000-foot lessons and advice about approach, philosophy, outlook, etc.  Both are essential.”
  • “I appreciated the depth of expertise of the boot camp, the structure of the process, and the role-playing.”
  • “Enjoyed meeting other oversight staffers.”
  • “Such a great course. I particularly enjoyed the structure of walking through the process.”
  • “The stories and real-life examples are what made the course come to life.”

How were the instructors?

  • “I appreciated the depth of knowledge as well as their candor.”
  • “[G]reat enthusiasm, excellent anecdotes.”
  • “[V]ery bipartisan.”
  • “They were very engaging and approachable and provided insights in a very practical way.  The recommendations for follow-up were incredibly helpful!”
  • “Highly experienced, entertaining, also very good at simulating scenarios for us, made it all fun too!” 

How was the boot camp in promoting bipartisanship?

  • “10 on a 10 – this is my biggest take-away.”
  • “I appreciated the tips and insights into how to promote bipartisanship in investigations.”
  • “Definitely inspired me to develop connections with colleagues from the other party.”
  • “Made me want to be more bipartisan.”

How were the handouts?

  • “Wonderful. I loved the way the investigation unfolded step by step.”
  • “Excellent. I plan on keeping these at my desk for future reference.”
  • Investigative plan handout: “Eye-opening, since we’ve never taken that approach on my committee.”
  • Hearing plan handout: “Great thoughts on witnesses, media.”

How were the role-playing exercises?

  • “[P]articularly useful exercise because the instructors can replicate the way the actual conversation goes.”
  • “Excellent!  Good scenarios and situations.”
  • “Really liked the exercises & role-playing. Sounded hokey at first, but it’s been really great.”

Boot Camp No. 1

  • Aug. 11-12, 2015
  • Instructors: Elise Bean, Justin Rood, Steve Groves, Zack Schram
  • Campers: 18
  • Location: HSGAC hearing room

Boot Camp No. 2

  • Feb. 17-18, 2016
  • Instructors: Elise Bean, Justin Rood, Ray Shepherd, Margaret Daum
  • Campers: 25
  • Location: HSGAC hearing room

Boot Camp No. 3

  • July 27-28, 2016
  • Instructors: Elise Bean, Justin Rood, Katie Bailey, Andy Wright
  • Campers:  26
  • Location:  HOGR hearing room

Boot Camp No. 4

  • Feb. 22-23, 2017        
  • Instructors: Elise Bean, Justin Rood, Mark Greenblatt, Mohammad Aslami
  • Campers: 20
  • Location: HSGAC hearing room

Boot Camp No. 5

  • May 31-June 1, 2017
  • Instructors: Elise Bean, Justin Rood, Andy Dockham, Andy Wright
  • Campers:19
  • Location: HOGR hearing room

Boot Camp No. 6

  • Aug. 23-24, 2017
  • Instructors: Elise Bean, Justin Rood, Jim Secreto, Machalagh Carr
  • Campers:19
  • Location: HSGAC hearing room

Boot Camp No. 7

  • Feb. 21-22, 2018
  • Instructors: Elise Bean, Justin Rood, Chris Lucas, Portia Bamiduro
  • Campers:20
  • Location: HSGAC hearing room

Boot Camp No. 8

  • Aug. 22-23, 2018
  • Instructors: Elise Bean, Justin Rood, Jen Barblan, Jim Secreto
  • Campers: 23
  • Location: Energy & Commerce Hearing Room

Boot Camp No. 9

  • Feb. 21-22, 2019
  • Instructors: Elise Bean, Justin Rood, Amanda Neely, Veronique Pluvoise
  • Campers: 26
  • Location: HSGAC hearing room

Boot Camp No. 10

  • Oct. 10-11, 2019
  • Instructors: Elise Bean, Justin Rood, Donald Sherman, Liam McKenna
  • Campers: 24
  • Location: HCOR hearing room

Boot Camp No. 11

  • Feb. 20-21, 2020
  • Instructors: Elise Bean, Justin Rood, Pablo Carrillo, Peter Kenny
  • Campers: 28
  • Location: HSGAC hearing room

Boot Camp No. 12

  • Feb. 18-19, 2021
  • Instructors: Elise Bean, Justin Rood, Allison Murphy, DeLisa Ragsdale
  • Campers: 18
  • Location: Online using the Zoom platform

Boot Camp No. 13

  • Aug 24-25, 2021
  • Instructors: Elise Bean, Tim Stretton, Alan Kahn, Jonathan Skladany
  • Campers: 27
  • Location: online using Zoom platform