23rd Annual Travers Conference on Ethics & Accountability in Government




Ethics, Accountability, and Leadership in the Contemporary Congress

 Friday, March 13, 2020

10:15 am – 4:00 pm

Location: Bancroft Hotel-Great Hall

The 2020 Travers Conference will bring 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 is commonly perceived as falling short on the tasks delegated to it by the Constitution.   The conference will engage these reform efforts with a particular focus on issues of ethics, accountability, and leadership.

Register: Here

Panel Information:

10:15- 10:25: Introductory Remarks


10:30- 11:45: Ethics in Congress: Campaign Finance, Lobbying, and Accountability

This panel will offer 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.

            Bruce Cain (Stanford University)

            Ellie Powell (University of Wisconsin)

            Steven Hayward (UC Berkeley, IGS)


11:45- 1:00: Lunch Break, lunch provided for conference participants and attendees


1:15- 2:30: Leadership in a Polarized Congress

This panel will focus 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.

            Ruth Bloch Rubin (University of Chicago)

            Danielle Thomsen (UC Irvine)

            Vanessa Tyson (Scripps College)

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


2:45- 4:00: Ideas and Prospects for Congressional Reform

This panel will address the issue 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?

            Tim LaPira (James Madison University)

            Menna Demessie (Congressional Black Caucus Foundation)

            Donald Wolfensberger (Woodrow Wilson Center)