OGM investigations addressed such problems as wasteful, year-end spending by federal agencies; the lack of effective competition in government procurement; excesses in the Department of Defense inventory; inadequacy of controls over bad federal contractors; inequities in the Social Security Disability program; inadequacy of protections for federal employees who blow the whistle on waste and fraud; and misconduct by revenue agents at the Internal Revenue Service.
The OGM Subcommittee also had jurisdiction over government ethics issues. In carrying out that responsibility, Senator Levin and Senator Cohen oversaw the operation of the Ethics in Government Act, including the requirement for top office holders to file financial disclosure forms; prohibitions on lobbying former offices; restrictions on gifts, gratuities and honoraria; the operation of the independent counsel law; and lobbying disclosure requirements.
During Senator Levin's service on the OGM Subcommittee, he authored numerous laws that carried out needed reforms the Subcommittee had identified through its investigations. These include the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, the Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act of 1984, the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984, stricter limits on gifts to Members of Congress, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, and amendments to the independent counsel law.
In 1997 and 1998, Senator Levin ended his service on the OGM Subcommittee and served instead as Ranking Member of the International Security, Proliferation and Federal Services (ISPFS) Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). Senator Levin participated in numerous hearings on nuclear proliferation and export controls. He also initiated an investigation into the U.S. sweepstakes industry and its use of the U.S. Postal Service to distribute deceptive promotions.
With the retirement of Senator John Glenn in 1998, Senator Levin became the Ranking Member on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI). The history of the PSI Subcommittee dates back to 1941 when the Senate created a special committee, chaired by then- Senator from Missouri, Harry S. Truman, to investigate fraud and waste in the mobilization for WWII. Because the Truman Committee was so successful, it was established as a permanent subcommittee in 1948. Over the years it has developed an exceptional legacy of significant investigations (organized crime, labor-management racketeering, gambling, health insurance fraud) and, in one case (the McCarthy hearings of 1954), a notorious investigation.
With Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) as Chairman, Senator Levin continued the investigation of the sweepstakes industry, culminating in the passage of significant legislation to protect American consumers. Senator Levin also initiated an investigation into U.S. private banking and correspondent banking as a tool for facilitating money laundering and foreign corruption.
In June 2001, Senator Levin became Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI). As Chairman, Levin led Congress' most in-depth examination into the collapse of Enron. He also opened an investigation into the rise in gas prices, and investigated money laundering in the securities industry and the use of offshore jurisdictions for tax evasion. Senator Levin stepped down as chairman when the Republicans took control of the Senate in January, 2003. He now is the Committee's Ranking Member (senior Democrat).
As the most senior Democrat on the full Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Levin has been involved in the major management and regulatory issues involving federal agencies, including Inspectors General, procurement, grants management and regulatory reform. He was the leading sponsor of a major regulatory reform bill that would require cost-benefit analysis and risk assessment for all major rules issued by federal agencies.
For more information on Senator Levin's work on the Committee, please visit one of the links below, which represent just some of the issues he has addressed over the years.
Visit the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations website.