Coats: ‘I’m at the wrong hearing’
By Colby Itkowitz
April 3 at 2:42 pm
Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) was prepped for an appropriations hearing on the defense budget when he took his turn Wednesday afternoon, flipping papers on his lap, reading from them and commending the witness for his department’s prompt response to a letter Coats had sent about a military accounting office in his home state.
It was all fairly innocuous except for one problem: Coats was in the completely wrong hearing complimenting the wrong witness.
After he’d finished a lengthy opening to his question, a staffer slipped Coats a piece of paper. Coats read it to himself, looked up, and said, “I just got a note saying I’m at the wrong hearing.”
“Well, that would explain why I didn’t know anything about this letter,” said David Cohen, undersecretary of treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.
Coats, who served in the Senate from 1989 to 1999, was U.S. ambassador to Germany and then returned to the Senate in 2011. He said that had never happened to him before. He saw familiar faces, he said, and thought he was in the right place. (Coats is on the Appropriations committee, but showed up at the wrong subcommittee.)
“I’ll go try to find out where I’m supposed to be,” Coats said.
Coats did find his place, in a hearing room down the hall in Dirksen an hour later, where Principal Deputy Defense Undersecretary Mike McCord knew all about the letter.
UPDATE: Good humored Coats acknowledged his mix-up on Twitter, musing it may be a Russian conspiracy, which is a possibility considering Vladimir Putin singled him out for a sanction last month.
I think the Russians have been messing with my schedule. But I never miss a chance to tout IN’s talented workforce http://t.co/uV0h5nnZXI
— Senator Dan Coats (@SenDanCoats) April 3, 2014
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