Senator Ted's Excellent Adventure
Ted Kaufman may not have a plan for his future after the Senate, but for the present, he is a man on a mission.
(page 3 of 5)
When the Senate is in session, Kaufman generally spends Tuesdays through Thursdays in Washington, D.C., where he and wife Lynne have taken an apartment. Unless there’s a scheduled vote, he will spend Mondays and Fridays in Delaware meeting with constituents and attending weekend events in the state. His 40 or so member staff (the vast majority are holdovers from Biden’s staff) hold weekly meetings in Washington and Delaware to coordinate the senator’s schedule. A neatly printed schedule of Kaufman’s day is produced and distributed early in the morning, but that schedule is often revised before the morning is out. On this particular day, the revision is dramatic.
The previous evening, senators learned they would receive a bill of impeachment from the House of Representatives for a federal judge convicted of a felony. A quorum call was set for 10 a.m. the next day, when a committee of senators would be named as judges for the impeachment trial. It marked only the fourth time such a committee had been formed for impeachment proceedings, and Kaufman was one of the 12 members to be named. It is yet another example of the impact and influence Kaufman brings to the Senate. (The impeachment proceedings ended the following day, when the judge, Samuel B. Kent, resigned.)
Interjection of the impeachment procedure turned the balance of Kaufman’s schedule into a bit of a cut-and-paste scramble. He made an abbreviated stop at a Judiciary Committee nominating hearing to spend a few minutes with his fellow professor from Duke University School of Law, Chris Schroeder, who was nominated as an assistant attorney general. Then Kaufman made an even more abbreviated pop-in to a Senate Foreign Relations Committee roundtable on “Iran at the Crossroads.” Kaufman arranged to meet privately with one of the panelists the next day, before he was off to his scheduled hour of presiding over the senate floor.
“The great thing about being a senator is your access to information and the volumes that are available from experts in the field,” Kaufman says after leaving the roundtable. “And they always return your calls.”
That Kaufman serves on both the Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees, as had his famous predecessor, is yet another reflection of his experience and reputation in the Senate. It also didn’t hurt that his predecessor is vice president of the United States.
“I asked the [Senate] leadership for those assignments based on my past experience as a staffer,” Kaufman says. “And then Vice President Biden put in a call for me.”
Kaufman is quick to say that having a former boss in the executive branch of government offers no special advantage to a legislator. “It’s more of a personal, familiarity thing between us,” he says.
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