- Oversight of government operations is one of Congress’ most important duties.
- Past oversight investigations have revealed waste, fraud and failure in government activities and provided valuable information to policy-makers.
- Sen. Levin will continue to pursue vigorous oversight as chairman of the Armed Services Committee and of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, a subcommittee of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, has jurisdiction to conduct investigations into a broad range of issues, including government operations and regulation; government waste, fraud and abuse; and financial fraud and other forms of fraud or activities that threaten the health, safety and welfare of the American people. As chairman I led investigations of the financial crisis that led to the recession of 2008-2010; fraud and excessive speculation in food and energy markets; offshore tax havens; abusive practices by credit card issuers; money laundering and foreign corruption; tax avoidance by federal contractors; and more. These investigations have revealed information that has influenced important legislation. Most recently, the Credit CARD Act of 2009 and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill of 2010 have addressed problems revealed by the subcommittee’s investigations.
As chairman of the Armed Services Committee, I established an investigative team to conduct an in-depth inquiry into the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq and Afghanistan. After an exhaustive review, the committee issued a bipartisan report documenting the central role that senior executive branch officials played in establishing policies that led to detainee abuse. The committee has also investigated the use and oversight of private security contractors in Afghanistan and examined a Defense Department contract with the company known as Blackwater to train Afghan National Army soldiers. Those investigations have led to reforms and an increased emphasis on contract oversight by the Defense Department.
Senator Levin’s Record on Investigations
- April 13, 2012 – Sen. Levin fights oil speculation, high gas prices
Sen. Levin is one of 19 U.S. senators who file an amicus brief in federal court to support commodities regulators in establishing trading limits on speculators who contribute to the volatility in oil and gas prices.
- March 26, 2012 – Levin, McCain release GAO report on fake parts from China
Sen. Levin and Sen. John McCain, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, release a report from the Government Accountability Office showing that China is refusing to shut down the flow of counterfeit electronic parts that endangers U.S. national security, the safety of troops and U.S. jobs.
- March 26, 2012 – Sen. Levin speaks out against oil speculation
In a Senate floor speech based on information developed by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Sen. Levin cites evidence that speculators are overwhelming the market for oil, gas and other commodities, calls for the establishment of trading limits on speculators as required in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform legislation, and calls for stronger actions to protect consumers and businesses from the impact of speculation on oil prices.
- March 22, 2012 – Sen. Levin opposes misnamed 'jobs' bill
Sen. Levin speaks out against legislation that has been sold as a job-creation bill, but that eliminates important protections for investors and threatens to reduce, rather than grow, investment in job creation. Earlier, Sen. Levin had joined with Sens. Mary Landrieu and Jack Reed to offer an alternative that would boost investment in job creation while maintaining investor protections.
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