Linda Gustitus’s first introduction to Congress came in the summer of 1966 when she interned in Congressman John B. Anderson’s (R-IL) office. Twelve years later she returned to Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant for Senator Carl Levin of Michigan. In 1980 Gustitus became the staff director of the Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management. For the next 20 years she worked as majority and minority staff director, investigating a wide range of topics including Enron, sweepstakes solicitations, the Social Security Disability Program, defense contracting, and campaign finance reform. Gustitus became an expert on the process and procedure of effective congressional oversight. Gustitus later served as staff director of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) and briefly as Senator Levin’s chief of staff. In this four-part interview, she conveys the important role Congress can and should play in providing oversight to the executive branch, arguing that congressional oversight is “not intended, under the Constitution, to be political oversight. It’s intended to be institutional oversight.” During her tenure, Gustitus gained extensive knowledge of the operations of the Governmental Affairs Committee, the role of the chairman and staff, and the unique duties and responsibilities of PSI. She also observed institutional change within the Senate, having joined the staff at a time when women began to play increasingly prominent roles. As a founder of the Senate Child Care Center, Gustitus discusses the challenges faced by two-working-parent households and the evolving role of women in the Senate during the last quarter of the 20th century.
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