Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) may want to pay more attention next time. On Wednesday, he showed up at the wrong hearing, then asked the wrong witness a fairly long question that had nothing to do with the hearing he was in.
It took a note from a staffer to inform him he was in the wrong place, The Washington Post reports.
“I just got a note saying I’m at the wrong hearing,” Coats said.
He was supposed to be at a hearing held by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, but instead showed up at an appropriations hearing on the budgets for the Defense Department and Army.
Here’s the full transcript of how it went down, which is pretty incredible:
SENATOR DAN COATS: OK, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just want to follow up on a parochial question, if you don’t mind, and that is the Indiana delegation sent to the Pentagon, Undersecretary Hale, a letter dated March 24th, asking some questions about the AMFO initiative. That’s the Army financial management optimization program. Number one, I want to commend you because, unprecedented in my career, we received a letter back on March 26th, of the same year. So I’m very impressed with that. A word of thanks there in terms of response.
And I was just looking through that letter. It actually went to Congressman Carson. There are a number of us, both senators and members of our congressional delegation. And the question is on the review of this new system. It potentially involves here, and I quote from the letter, possibly including reductions in numbers of DFAS personnel at certain locations. We will make every effort to accommodate any changes through attrition.
I’m not here to get a specific answer from you but to better understand what is happening and how — I think there’s probably a trial plan that’s going to be put in place, if that rings a bell. What is you’re trying to accomplish and what are some of the consequences of that going to be to the current DFAS system, locations, personnel, et cetera?
SEN. TOM UDALL: Undersecretary Cohen, I just wanted to –
COATS: I just got a note saying I’m at the wrong hearing.
UDALL: Oh, OK.
COATS: I’ve got the right room number but the wrong hearing.
COHEN: Well, that would explain why I didn’t know anything about this letter. (Laughter.)
COATS: Well, this is the first time this has ever happened to me, but I hope it’s not a precursor of what –
UDALL: You’re always welcome in our committee.
COATS: Well, thank you. I saw some familiar faces and I thought this is where I should be.
COHEN: Thank you, Senator.
COATS: I hope you’re able to respond as quickly as the undersecretary of the Army responded. I’ll go try to find out where I’m supposed to be. Thank you.