WASHINGTON – 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.”
“Well, that would explain why I didn’t know anything about this letter,” Cohen said.
Coats said it was the first time he had gone to the wrong hearing but said, “I hope it’s not a precursor of what may come.”
He later tweeted about the mix-up, joking that it could have been a Russian conspiracy. Coats was among six lawmakers Russia’s President Vladimir Putin sanctioned last month in retaliation for the U.S. sanctioning Russian officials in response to the crisis in Crimea.