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James Layne (’08)As investigative counsel for the United States Senate Budget Committee, “making sure that the hard-earned money people entrust to the government is used as it’s supposed to be,” James Layne (’08) is a truth-seeker. “Truth matters when you’re pursuing philosophy,” he says, “but also in more practical arts such as politics.”

While in law school in 2012, he undertook a coveted summer clerkship for the late Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, giving him a taste for the rewards of government service. Thus, when the opportunity arose to return to the Senate in 2018, he did not hesitate to take it. He staffed for Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who sat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and was the leading Republican on the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law.

When Sen. Flake’s term concluded in 2019, Mr. Layne continued in government service, clerking for Judge Chad Readler of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He then worked briefly in the private sector before returning to Capitol Hill in January.

His new role as investigative counsel is one of oversight. “Every federal agency has a budget from the money appropriated by Congress, which has a duty and a responsibility to look into how that money is being spent,” he explains. “My role is to make sure that there’s no fraud, no major conflicts of interest or self-dealing. Oversight can include investigations of anyone from the President of the United States on down in the executive branch, or even about issues that arise in the federal judiciary.”

Capitol Hill, he says, could use more TAC graduates: “I would encourage any student at TAC to think about entering government service. We need people in the government who are committed to following the path to truth, wherever that path leads you.”