State Oversight Workshops

We offer custom-designed oversight workshops for members of state legislatures and their staff seeking to strengthen their ability to conduct fact-based, bipartisan, high-quality investigations. Check our page below or get in touch for a proposal tailored to your legislature.

To achieve its mission of promoting and supporting fact-based, bipartisan, in-depth oversight, the Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy offers workshops for state legislatures on how to conduct oversight investigations.  The workshops are available in a variety of formats from one-hour introductions to full-day boot camps, and can be virtual or in-person.  All sessions seek to combine investigators from the Democratic, Republican, and independent parties as well as both chambers of the legislature to produce a bipartisan or nonpartisan oversight experience.  

Workshop contents can include a wide range of topics depending on your legislature’s particular interest, such as how to improve hearing questions, how to build successful investigations, how to handle press and media releases following oversight reports and many more.

Download our workshop brochure and get in touch.

Contact us for more information on our oversight workshops or to discuss a hearing, testimony, or workshop for your state.

Featured Workshop

Asking Better Oversight Hearing Questions

October 7, 2021

Watch our most recent state oversight workshop. 

List of Workshops

The Levin Center presented as part of a Legislative Staff Training hosted by Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. This Introduction to Legislative Oversight covered identifying oversight topics, the difference between routine and in-depth oversight, navigating the six avenues of state legislative oversight, and recommendations to enhance state legislative oversight in Michigan. Attendees were legislative staff from partisan and nonpartisan offices in the Michigan Legislature.

On January 23, 2023 we offered an online masterclass for state lawmakers and their staff to learn about the power of legislative oversight to solve problems, serve their constituents, and make government accountable for results.
In this 90-minute highly interactive session, participants learned about the tools of oversight, interacted with national oversight experts and leaders, and came away with a rough outline for their own legislative oversight agenda. 
Instructors: Ben Eikey & Jim Townsend
Participants: 19

On January 18, 2023, Jim Townsend and Elise Bean trained all members of the Washington, D.C. council on the importance and the techniques of fact-based, bipartisan oversight in a 4-hour in-person workshop. 


  • Jim Townsend, Director, Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy
  • Elise Bean, Director, Levin Center Washington, D.C. Office

Participants: 12 members of the D.C. Council

On November 28 and 29, 2022, Elise Bean and Linda Gustitus of the Levin Center’s Washington, D.C. Office trained three members of the Washington, D.C. Council in a hands-on, interactive oversight Boot Camp exercise. Council members learned about creating a hearing plan, the variety of oversight techniques,  developing the final report, and planning a successful communication strategy to share important oversight findings. 


  • Elise Bean, Director, Levin Center Washington, D.C. Office
  • Linda Gustitus, Levin Center Senior Advisor

Attendees: 3 D.C. Council Members

In partnership with the Council of State Governments (CSG) West, the Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy hosted a virtual legislative exchange focused on oversight of infrastructure investments. This session offered policymakers and legislative staff an opportunity to gain insights from our recent infrastructure oversight symposium and the recommendations made to ensure transparency, accountability, and efficiency of U.S. infrastructure investments. 

Location: Virtual

Attendees: 15 lawmakers from CSG West

Presenter: Jim Townsend, Levin Center Director

Download Presentation Slides

Ben Eikey and Elise Bean joined the California State Legislature on February 8, 2022 for a virtual oversight workshop. Organized by State Assemblyman Ken Cooley, the workshop focused on California’s oversight capacity, gave recommendations to strengthen legislative oversight in the state, and provided attendees with a practical exercise to develop a mock investigative plan. 

Location: virtual

Participants: 28 members of staff

Instructors: Ben Eikey, Elise Bean

Download presentation slides

State Senator Sara Gelser from Oregon, Carmen Simon, and Ben Eikey from the Levin Center gathered in Scottsdale, Arizona for the NCOIL Annual Meeting. Together they lead two 90-minute legislative oversight workshops, detailing the steps in any effective legislative investigation.

Location: Scottsdale, AZ

Participants: 10 lawmakers

Instructors: Ben Eikey, Carmen Simon, Oregon State Senator Sara Gelser


Presentation Slides

Opening Remarks: Machaela Cavanaugh (Nebraska State Senator), Tom Bergquist (Finance Office), Martha Carter (Performance Audit), Julie Rogers (Ombudsman’s Office)

Instructors: Ben Eikey (Levin Center)

Participants: 30 Legislators

Location: Lincoln, NE


Instructors: Ben Eikey (Levin Center), Jim Townsend (Levin Center), Kim Schofield (Georgia State Representative)

Participants: 45 lawmakers and members of CSG West

Location: Colorado Springs, CO


Oversight Workshop Agenda

Instructors: Ben Eikey and Jim Townsend (Levin Center) 

Participants: 25 North Carolina lawmakers and staffers

Location: online using Zoom platform


Workshop slides

Moderator: Ken Cooley (California State Assemblymember)

Panelists: Ben Eikey (Levin Center), John Sylvia (West Virginia, Director Performance Evaluation & Research Division), Ed McBroom (Michigan State Senator)

Participants: 70 members of NCOIL

Location: Boston, MA

View Recording (start at 2:40 hours)

Remarks and presentations: Elaine Howle (California State Auditor); Gabe Petek (Head of the Legislative Analyst’s Office); Cara Jenkins (Assembly’s Legislative Counsel)

Levin Center Instructors: Ben Eikey and Elise Bean

Participants: 30 California State Lawmakers

Location: online using Zoom platform


Workshop slides

  1. The Levin Center at Wayne Law was invited to speak at the Council of State Government’s National Conference 2020. The session entitled “Strengthening the Role of Legislative Oversight” was hosted by the CSG West Oversight Working Group. The Levin Center presentation was followed by a panel discussion hearing from three different lawmakers in different states. The session was moderated by Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-CA).

Levin Center presentation:

  • Jim Townsend, Levin Center Director
  • Elise Bean, Levin Center Washington Office Director
  • Ben Eikey, State Training and Communications Manager

Panel discussion:

  1. Assemblymember Dan Quart, New York State Assembly, Chair, Commission on Administrative Regulations Review
  2. Senator Sarah Elfreth, Maryland State Senate, Chair, Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive & Legislative Review
  3. Senator Dan Johnson, Idaho State Senate

 (no-cost registration required to view the recording)

Instructors: Elise Bean, Ray Shepherd, Andrew Wright

Workshop participants: 40 state legislative staffers from both parties and a variety of committees

Location: Pennsylvania State Capitol, Harrisburg, PA

Instructors: Elise Bean, Andrew Wright, South Carolina Representative Weston Newton, House Legislative Oversight Committee chair

Workshop participants:  9 committee members and 11 staffers

Location: Pennsylvania State Capitol, Harrisburg, PA

August 8, 2016

Instructors: Elise Bean, Justin Rood

Workshop participants:  40 staffers from various state legislatures

Location: NCSL Legislative Summit, Chicago, IL

Workshop Instructors

From 1985 to 2014, Elise Bean worked for Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), including 15 years at the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Appointed as his PSI staff director and chief counsel in 2003, Bean handled investigations into such matters as money laundering, offshore tax abuse, corruption, and corporate misconduct. After Levin retired in Jan. 2015, and the Levin Center at Wayne Law was established in his honor, Bean joined the center staff. In 2015 and 2016, Bean was included in the Global Tax 50, a list compiled by the International Tax Review of the year’s top 50 individuals and organizations influencing tax. In 2011 and 2013, the Washingtonian magazine named her one of Washington’s 100 most powerful women. Bean is a graduate of Wesleyan University and earned her law degree from the University of Michigan.

Ben Eikey is our Manager of State Training and Communications. Ben has four years of experience working in the Michigan House of Representatives as well as the United States Congress, assisted teaching three university courses, and holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan. While working in the Michigan Legislature and in Congress, Ben enjoyed being part of solving critical public policy issues across a wide range of topics. His work primarily involved state and federal appropriations committee responsibilities including budget analysis and departmental oversight. Further, Ben excelled in encouraging positive legislative impacts in criminal justice, transportation policy, and tax reform.

James H. (Jim) Townsend, a former member of the Michigan legislature, was named director of the Levin Center at Wayne Law in November 2019. Previously, Townsend practiced law in the Detroit office of Butzel Long as a member of its Corporate and Real Estate Practice Group.

Prior to joining the firm, he represented the 26th District in the Michigan House of Representatives. He serves on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s advisory council of the Redevelopment Ready Communities® program.

Before his career in law, Townsend was legislative director for the office of U.S. Representative Nita M. Lowey and worked for U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg. Townsend’s private sector experience includes working as a brand manager at Ford Motor Company, founding and directing the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, and leading economic development at the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Townsend earned his J.D. at Wayne Law, his bachelor’s at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.B.A. and Master of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.