Brademas Center

Government by Investigation

Government by Investigation

Presidential and Congressional investigations are a headline-grabbing feature of Washington, catapulting some politicians to fame, and others to infamy as well. Some national tribunals have proved to be highly partisan, while many have been more substantive, leading to reforms. Either way, the investigative process remains a powerful tool for influencing public opinion and producing results that matter.

In his latest book, NYU Wagner Professor Paul Light, one of the country’s foremost experts on the federal government and organizational management, focuses an analytical lens on the presidential and congressional investigative hearing process. He explores what he found were the most memorable investigations and, in some cases, judging by the lack of solid results, the most forgettable  ones since the end of World War II. The inquests range from hearings on Pearl  Harbor (1945), Ku Klux Klan activities (1965), and Watergate (1973), to the Clinton impeachment hearings (1998), inquiries into the government response to Hurricane Katrina (2005), and recent hearings on questions surrounding the Solyndra Corporation (2011).

The book, “Government by Investigation: Congress, the President, and the Search for Answers, 1945–2012,” has been published by Brookings Institution Press. It supplies a rigorous assessment of what Light, who is NYU Wagner's Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service, sees as the federal government’s 100 most significant uses of its investigative authority since 1945.

Too see new coverage of the book, don't miss "Scandalize, Investigate, Repeat"  on NYU's website.

 

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