23rd Annual Travers Conference on Ethics & Accountability in Government


Ethics, Accountability, and Leadership in the Contemporary Congress

The 2021 Travers Conference brought together experts from around the country to assess proposals to reform Congress.  There is an active bipartisan effort underway in DC to consider potential reforms of a Congress that are commonly perceived as falling short on the tasks delegated to it by the Constitution.  The conference engages conversions about these reform efforts with a particular focus on issues of ethics, accountability, and leadership.

Panel 1: Ethics in Congress: Campaign Finance, Lobbying, and Accountability

This panel offers a general consideration of political ethics, with a focus on particular ethical issues relevant to congressional reform, including issues of campaign finance and post-congressional lobbying.

            Moderator: Robert Van Houweling (UC Berkeley)
            Bruce Cain (Stanford University)
            Ellie Powell (University of Wisconsin)
            Steven Hayward (UC Berkeley, IGS)

Panel 2: Leadership in a Polarized Congress

This panel focused on issues of congressional leadership.   It will address the broad question of whether leadership is possible both within and across parties in today's Congress.

            Moderator: David Brady (Stanford University) 
            Ruth Bloch Rubin (University of Chicago)
            Danielle Thomsen (UC Irvine)
            Vanessa Tyson (Scripps College)

Panel 3:  Ideas and Prospects for Congressional Reform

This panel addresses the issue of what can be done to improve Congress.  Does it actually need reform?   What are some key reforms under discussion?  Is it possible to move forward with reform in a polarized context?

           Moderator: Ann Keller (UC Berkeley)

           Tim LaPira (James Madison University)
           Menna Demessie (Independent Scholar)
           Donald Wolfensberger (Woodrow Wilson Center & Bipartisan Policy Center)

           Thomas E. Mann (Brookings Institution and UC Berkeley, IGS)

Presented by the Charles & Louise Travers Department of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley in cooperation with the Institute of Governmental Studies and the Commonwealth Club of California.