Senator Dan Coats of Indiana apparently had a bit of a mix-up yesterday.

From FOX News:

All hearing rooms look alike. At least they do for Sen. Dan Coats.

The Indiana Republican, in an awkward mix-up, showed up at the wrong hearing on Thursday when he arrived at an appropriations subcommittee meeting.

At first, it seemed like nothing was wrong. He took his seat, flipped through papers and then complimented the witness in the room for his department’s quick response to a letter he had sent earlier about a military accounting office in his home state.

Then Coats launched into a fairly lengthy question.

The problem was, Coats was talking to David Cohen, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence — wrong guy. Coats assumed he was addressing Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Mike McCord, at an entirely different hearing.

An aide then slipped Coats a piece of paper. The senator stopped talking and said, “I just got a note saying I’m at the wrong hearing.”

After some awkward moments, Coats eventually excused himself, noting that this had been the first time this had ever happened to him and said, “I’ll go try to find out where I’m supposed to be.”

The Washington Post, which first reported the story Thursday, elaborated Friday on how this actually happened.

But though Coats began speaking about a state-based military personnel office more than an hour into the hearing on financial intelligence and terrorism, he had not sat through the entire thing. Because, as astute Hill watchers know, lawmakers rarely attend a hearing much longer than it takes to ask a question.

Coats’s communications director Matt Lahr blasted an e-mail to his press list to clarify that his boss had not been sitting idly in the hearing, daydreaming. The actual hearing he was supposed to be in, with a start time an hour later, was also underway, and Coats slipped into the wrong back door.

“After entering the room and reviewing his notes for 3-5 minutes, he was called on and the unfortunate moment occurred,” Lahr said.

But Coats’s office is keeping a sense of humor about the incident. The subject line of the e-mail was: “A funny thing happened on the way to the hearing.”

Coats also took the incident in stride, later that day sending out a tweet jokingly blaming Russia for messing with his schedule. (Coats was one of those recently sanctioned by Russia on a list with other lawmakers and U.S. officials, in response to the U.S. imposing sanctions against Russia).


Watch the exchange below, via RollCall.

[Featured image: Washington Post video]


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