The Slatest

Amusingly Blunt Senate Note Dropped by Staffer, Picked Up by Reporter Describes Hearing as “BS”

Matt Laslo is a Capitol Hill reporter. Today he found a note on the floor, apparently from one staffer to another, describing what seems to be a senator’s plans for an upcoming hearing.

Funny! Laslo says he isn’t sure which senator’s staffer wrote and dropped the note. But we know it’s a woman. And, since Republicans now control Senate committees, it seems more likely that a Democrat would believe a given hearing was “BS.” The biggest hearing going on right now involves attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch, but such hearings are standard and Lynch’s seems to be going uncontroversially. Another Congress watcher, Meghan McCarthy of The Morning Consult, thinks the note likely refers to Maryland’s Barbara Mikulski—who spoke at today’s HELP Committee hearing on employer-sponsored health and wellness programs. (She’s about 1:32 into the video.) Mikulski does mention that she wishes the hearing had better covered certain topics and describes herself as “frustrated” about the lack of progress on an issue related to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Mikulski is also known for being blunt. Perhaps Meghan McCarthy has cracked the Case of the Refreshingly Honest Senate Correspondence!

Update, Jan. 29, 3:35 p.m.: Senator Mikulski’s office contacted us to say that none of her staffers wrote the note. Said Mikulski’s rep: “Today’s HELP hearing was incredibly important to Senator Mikulski and her staff. She’s a strong supporter of wellness initiatves that improve the health of individuals and reduce overall health costs for families, for employers, and for taxpayers.” Meanwhile, the Washington Post suspected New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen, whose office also said they weren’t responsible. And another theory mentioned by the Post plausibly suggests California senator Dianne Feinstein’s staff might have been behind it. We may never know!