Elise J. Bean is Washington Co-Director of the Levin Center at Wayne State University School of Law whose mission is to promote effective legislative oversight, good governance, and civil discourse. From 1985 to 2014, Ms. Bean served on the staff of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., on the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. She was staff director and chief counsel of the committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations from 2003 to 2014 when she retired from the Senate with Levin.
During her tenure as a key senate staffer, Ms. Bean handled a variety of investigations, hearings and legislation, including matters involving offshore tax abuses, money laundering, foreign corruption, unfair credit card practices, health care fraud, abuses involving derivatives and structured finance, and shell companies with hidden owners. Investigations headed by her included inquiries into the 2008 financial crisis, HSBC money laundering problems, London whale trades at JPMorgan Chase, collapse of Enron, and offshore tax avoidance by Apple, Microsoft and Caterpillar. She has written a book about her experiences in the Senate entitled Financial Exposure: Carl Levin’s Senate Investigations into Finance and Tax Abuse published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2018.
In 2016 and 2015, she was included in the Global Tax 50, a list compiled by International Tax Review of the year’s top 50 individuals and organizations influencing tax policy and practice. In 2013 and 2011, the Washingtonian magazine named her one of Washington’s 100 most powerful women. In 2010, she was selected by the National Law Journal as one of Washington’s most influential women lawyers.
Ms. Bean graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan University in 1978 and earned her law degree, cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School in 1982. She served as a law clerk to former Chief Judge of the U.S. Claims Court Alex Kozinski, who later served as the chief judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She worked for two years as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Frauds Section. Earlier in her career, she worked for U.S. Rep. John Joseph Moakley, D-Mass.