23rd Annual Travers Conference on Ethics & Accountability in Government

Friday, April 16, 2021
9:30am to 2:45pm
Registration Link:

Event contact: Serena Groen: serena_groen [at] berkeley.edu 

Recordings of each panel are available on the Berkeley Political Science Department's website here.

The 2021 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 are 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.

Panel Information:

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

Time: 9:30 am to 10:45 am

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.

            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

Time: 11:00 am to 12:15 pm 

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.

            Moderator: David Brady (Stanford University) 

            Ruth Bloch Rubin (University of Chicago)

            Danielle Thomsen (UC Irvine)

            Vanessa Tyson (Scripps College)


Time 12:15 pm to 1:15 pm

Panel 3:  Ideas and Prospects for Congressional Reform

Time: 1:15 pm to 2:45 pm

This panel will address 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)

IGS is co-sponsoring this event with the Charles & Louise Travers Department of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, and the Commonwealth Club of California.