Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) admitted following Tuesday night’s debate that she missed an Armed Services Committee hearing because she was at a fundraiser.
The Washington Free Beacon reported last month that on the night of a classified hearing regarding the rise of the Islamic State there was a fundraiser held for Hagan in New York City, making it unlikely that Hagan was able to attend both the classified hearing and the fundraiser.
After weeks of avoiding questions on her whereabouts the day of the classified hearing, Hagan admitted to reporters in a post-debate press conference that she missed the Armed Services Committee hearing due to a fundraiser.
When asked about the hearing after the debate, Hagan said that she was unable to attend because the hearing was postponed till the afternoon.
“There was one and what had happened at that hearing, it was scheduled early in the day, and then votes were scheduled, and that hearing then had to be postponed later that day, so yes, I did miss that one,” said Hagan.
Hagan’s office had previously refused multiple requests to set the record straight on whether she attended the hearing or the fundraiser.
The closed door hearing was held on Feb. 27 and was a continuation of an earlier hearing on Feb. 11 with testimony from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, which Hagan was also absent for.
Clapper and Flynn were asked by multiple senators about the Islamic State during the hearing, but gave little information about intelligence they had on the group. The Feb. 27 hearing was held so that classified information that could not be disclosed during an open hearing could be discussed with the committee.
Not only does Hagan sit on the Armed Services Committee, but she also chairs the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.
On the night of the hearing, a cocktail reception fundraiser was held for Hagan on Park Avenue in New York City, with tickets to the event going for as much as $5,200.
Hagan officially began her campaign for senate earlier that same week.
The North Carolina Republican Party quickly pounced on Hagan’s admission, calling it a “game-changer.”
“Senator Hagan has an embarrassing record of skipping important hearings at the Senate Armed Services Committee,” said executive director Todd Poole. “Now she has admitted the worst possible excuse is true: she skipped a committee hearing for a political fundraiser.”
“After weeks of hiding the truth, she owes the people of North Carolina, the people who sign her paycheck, an explanation–and an apology,” added Poole.
Tillis has attacked her attendance record as a member of the Armed Services Committee, stating that Hagan has missed half of the committee’s meetings so far in 2014, and that “while ISIS grew… Kay Hagan kept quiet.”
Politifact rated the claim that Hagan has missed half of the committee hearings as “Mostly True,” finding that she had only attended 9 of 22 open hearings held by the committee in 2014.
During the Tuesday debate, Hagan failed to name a single policy recommendation she would make to combat the rise of the Islamic State when asked whether there is “anything President Obama is not doing that you would do.”
Local reports confirmed that Hagan admitted that she attended a fundraiser instead of the Armed Services Committee, and seem to agree that the comment could be a “game-changer” in the race. A reporter from ABC’s Raleigh affiliate said that “of all the things said” on debate night, Hagan’s comment made after the event is likely to have the biggest effect on the race “in days and weeks to come.”
Hagan did not respond to a request for comment.