Dan Coats

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For the American football player, see Daniel Coats (American football).
Dan Coats
Dan Coats, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
United States Senator
from Indiana
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Serving with Joe Donnelly
Preceded by Evan Bayh
In office
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Dan Quayle
Succeeded by Evan Bayh
United States Ambassador to Germany
In office
August 15, 2001 – February 28, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by John Kornblum
Succeeded by William Timken
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1989
Preceded by Dan Quayle
Succeeded by Jill Long
Personal details
Born Daniel Ray Coats
(1943-05-16) May 16, 1943 (age 72)
Jackson, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Marsha Coats
Children 3
Residence Fort Wayne, Indiana
Alma mater Wheaton College, Illinois
Indiana University, Indianapolis
Religion Presbyterianism
Website Senate website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1966–1968

Daniel Ray "Dan" Coats (born May 16, 1943) is the senior United States Senator from Indiana and a member of the Republican Party. He was in the United States Senate from 1989 to 1999, retired, and then returned in 2011.

Born in Jackson, Michigan, Coats graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois and Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. He served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968. Before serving in the U.S. Senate, Coats was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Indiana's 4th congressional district from 1981 to 1989. He was appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Dan Quayle following Quayle's election as Vice President of the United States in 1988. Coats won the 1990 special election to serve the remainder of Quayle's unexpired term, as well as the 1992 election for a full six-year term. He did not seek reelection in 1998, and was succeeded by Evan Bayh.

After retiring from the Senate, Coats served as U.S. Ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2005, and then worked as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. He was re-elected to the Senate by a large margin in 2010, succeeding Bayh, who announced his own retirement shortly after Coats declared his candidacy. He is the only current Senator to have returned to the Senate having previously retired.

On March 24, 2015, Sen. Coats announced he was not running for re-election.[1]

Early life, education and career[edit]

Coats was born in Jackson, Michigan, the son of Vera (Nora) Elisabeth (née Swanlund) and Edward Raymond Coats. His father was of English and German descent, and his maternal grandparents immigrated from Sweden.[2] Coats attended local public schools, and graduated from Jackson High School in 1961. He then studied at Wheaton College in Illinois, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1965. At Wheaton, he was an active student athlete on the soccer team. He served in the United States Army from 1966 to 1968, and earned a Juris Doctor from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis in 1972, where he was also the associate editor of the Indiana Law Review.[3] He also served as assistant vice president of a Fort Wayne life insurance company.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

From 1976 to 1980, Coats worked for then-U.S. Representative Dan Quayle, a Republican from Indiana's 4th congressional district, as Quayle's district representative. When Quayle decided to challenge three-term Democratic incumbent Birch Bayh in the 1980 U.S. Senate election, Coats ran for and won Quayle's seat in the U.S. House.

U.S. Senate[edit]

When Quayle resigned from the Senate after being elected Vice President of the United States in 1988, Coats was appointed to Quayle’s former seat. Coats was subsequently elected to the seat in 1990 and 1992 and served in the Senate until January 1999, when Evan Bayh became the new Senator. When Bayh announced that he was going to retire in 2010, Coats ran for and won that Senate seat. He announced in March 2015 that he would not run for re-election in 2016.

Political positions[edit]

Gun laws[edit]

On multiple occasions, Coats has supported gun control measures. In 1991, he voted in favor of the Biden-Thurmond Violent Crime Control Act of 1991. This act, which did not become law, would have created a waiting period for handgun purchases and placed a ban on semi-automatic firearms. Subsequently, he supported the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act that President Clinton signed into law in 1993.[4] The legislation imposed a waiting period before a handgun could be transferred to an individual by a licensed dealer, importer, or manufacturer. This waiting period ended when the computerized instant check system came online. Coats also supported Feinstein Amendment 1152 to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1993.[5] The purpose of the Feinstein Amendment was to "restrict the manufacture, transfer, and possession of certain semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices".[6]

In April 2013, Coats was one of forty-six senators to vote against passage of a bill which would have expanded background checks for gun buyers. Coats voted with 40 Republicans and 5 Democrats to stop the passage of the bill.[7]


In 1995 Senator Coats introduced S. 568: Family, Investment, Retirement, Savings, and Tax Fairness Act[8] which would provide "family tax credits, increase national savings through individual retirement plus accounts, indexing for inflation the income thresholds for taxing social security benefits, etc".[9] The bill did not become law.

LGBT issues[edit]

In 1993, Coats emerged as an opponent of President Clinton's effort to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the armed forces.[10] Coats was one of the authors of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy and opposed its 2011 repeal. He does not support same-sex marriage but opposes interference with alternative lifestyles.[11]


Coats cosponsored, with former Senators Edward M. Kennedy, Christopher Dodd, and James Jeffords, S.2206: Coats Human Services Reauthorization Act of 1998. This bill, which was enacted into law, “amended the Head Start Act, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981, and the Community Services Block Grant Act...in order to provide an opportunity for persons with limited means to accumulate assets.”[12]

In 1996, Coats cosponsored the Line Item Veto Act of 1996 which President Clinton signed into law. The bill allowed the President to "rewrit[e] legislation by vetoing single items of spending or specific tax breaks approved by Congress."[13] The Supreme Court of the United States declared the law unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York in a 6-3 decision.

Coats made headlines in August 1998, when he publicly questioned the timing of President Bill Clinton’s attack on terrorist bases in Afghanistan and Sudan, suggesting it might be linked to the Lewinsky scandal: "While there is clearly much more we need to learn about this attack and why it was ordered today, given the president’s personal difficulties this week, it is legitimate to question the timing of this action."[14]

Between U.S. Senate tenures[edit]

Coats worked as Special Counsel member in the firm Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand in 2000 and 2001.

In 2001, Coats was reportedly one of George W. Bush’s top choices to be Defense Secretary, a job eventually given to Donald Rumsfeld, who had previously served as United States Secretary of Defense.

From August 15, 2001 to February 28, 2005, Coats was the United States Ambassador to Germany.[15][16] As ambassador during the lead up to the Iraq war, he pressured the German government not to oppose the war, threatening worsened US relations with Germany.[17] As Ambassador he also played a critical role in establishing robust relations with then opposition leader Angela Merkel and in the construction of a new United States Embassy in the heart of Berlin next to the Brandenburg Gate.[18]

In 2005, Coats drew attention when he was chosen by President George W. Bush to shepherd Harriet Miers' failed nomination to the Supreme Court through the Senate. Echoing Senator Roman Hruska's famous 1970 speech in defense of Harrold Carswell, Coats said to CNN regarding the nomination: "If [being a] great intellectual powerhouse is a qualification to be a member of the court and represent the American people and the wishes of the American people and to interpret the Constitution, then I think we have a court so skewed on the intellectual side that we may not be getting representation of America as a whole."[19]

In 2007, Coats served as co-chairman of a team of lobbyists for Cooper Industries, a Texas corporation that moved its principal place of business to Bermuda, where it would not be liable for U.S. taxes. In that role, he worked to block Senate legislation that would have closed a tax loophole, worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Cooper Industries.[20]

The NYT also reported that Coats was co-chairman of the Washington government relations office of King & Spalding, with a salary of $603,609.[20]

Political campaigns[edit]


On February 10, 2010, Coats confirmed that he would return to Indiana to run for the seat held by incumbent Evan Bayh in the 2010 United States Senate election.[21][22] Bayh had made no previous announcements and was fully expected to run for another term, but after Coats announced his candidacy, Bayh announced his retirement on February 15, 2010. On May 4, 2010, Coats won the Republican primary over state Sen. Marlin Stutzman and former Congressman John Hostettler.[23][24]

Coats received endorsements from National Right to Life Committee, Indiana Right to Life, and the Susan B. Anthony List.[25]

Coats defeated Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth by a fifteen-point margin to return to the Senate.[26]

Coats became the senior senator from Indiana after Richard Lugar lost a challenge in the 2012 Republican primary election and subsequently was not re-elected to the Senate in 2012. Coats is currently serving with Democrat Joe Donnelly.

Personal life[edit]

Coats is affiliated with the Fellowship, an informal association of Christian lawmakers. Coats lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.[27]

Coats received Big Brothers Big Sisters of America's Charles G. Berwind Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 for his decades of involvement with the organization.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Coats Not Running for Re-Election". IndyPolitics.Org. 
  2. ^ "Dan Coats ancestry". Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Meet DAn". Dan Coats Official Website. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ Macy, Tim (February 11, 2010). "Dan Coats, Gun Control and the Indiana Senate Primary". Gunowners.org. Retrieved August 10, 2011. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. Retrieved August 10, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Bill Summary & Status - 103rd Congress (1993 - 1994) - S.AMDT.1152". Thomas.loc.gov. Retrieved August 10, 2011. 
  7. ^ Silver, Nate (April 18, 2013). "Modeling the Senate's Vote on Gun Control". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Sen. Daniel Coats [R-IN]. "Family, Investment, Retirement, Savings, and Tax Fairness Act of 1995 (1995; 104th Congress S. 568)". GovTrack.us. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Bill Summary & Status Search Results - THOMAS (Library of Congress)". loc.gov. 
  10. ^ Schmitt, Eric (May 12, 1993). "Compromise on Military Gay Ban Gaining Support Among Senators". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Salomon, Evie (October 8, 2010). "Indiana US Senate candidates discuss hot topics of this year's election". Indiana Daily Student (Indiana University). Retrieved January 11, 2015. 
  12. ^ Sen. Daniel Coats [R-IN]. "Coats Human Services Reauthorization Act of 1998 (1998; 105th Congress S. 2206)". GovTrack.us. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  13. ^ Pear, Robert (June 26, 1998). "The Supreme Court: The Opinion -- Justices, 6-3, Bar Veto Of Line Items In Bills; See H.I.V. As Disability; Spending At Issue". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ Most Lawmakers Support Clinton’s Military Strikes, August 20, 1998, CNN.
  15. ^ "Speeches by Ambassador Coats". United States Diplomatic Mission to Germany. Archived from the original on August 27, 2009. Retrieved April 24, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Biography: Daniel R. Coats". United States Department of State. Retrieved April 24, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Irak-Kriegspläne: US-Botschafter mahnt die Deutschen - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten - Politik". Spiegel.de. September 4, 2002. Retrieved July 12, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Coats, Bucshon to headline GOP dinner » Local News » The Washington Times-Herald". Washtimesherald.com. Retrieved July 12, 2010. 
  19. ^ American Morning: Miers Confirmation Battle, October 7, 2005, transcript of CNN American Morning.
  20. ^ a b LIPTON, ERIC (November 13, 2010). "A Journey From Lawmaker to Lobbyist and Back Again". nyt.com. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  21. ^ Ryan Elijah (February 10, 2010). "Dan Coats Confirms Bid for U.S. Senate". Indiana's NewsCenter. Retrieved February 10, 2010. 
  22. ^ Flynn, Bridget (March 23, 2010). "Dan Coats outlines his priorities". Herald Argus. 
  23. ^ "The 2010 Results Maps". Politico.Com. Retrieved July 12, 2010. 
  24. ^ Cillizza, Chris (May 4, 2010). "Coats, Fisher win; NC-Senate to runoff". Washington Post. Retrieved May 9, 2010. 
  25. ^ "Indiana Senate Candidate Dan Coats Gets Pro-Life Backing Over Ellsworth". LifeNews.com. June 10, 2011. Retrieved August 10, 2011. 
  26. ^ "State Results - Election Center 2010 - Elections & Politics from CNN.com". CNN. 
  27. ^ The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet: Chapter 14 page 381
  28. ^ "U.S. Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) Receives Big Brothers Big Sisters' Highest National Honor". PR Newswire. June 12, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dan Quayle
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Jill Long
United States Senate
Preceded by
Dan Quayle
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Indiana
Served alongside: Richard Lugar
Succeeded by
Evan Bayh
Preceded by
Evan Bayh
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Indiana
Served alongside: Richard Lugar, Joe Donnelly
Preceded by
Kevin Brady
Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dan Quayle
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Indiana
(Class 3)

1990, 1992
Succeeded by
Paul Helmke
Preceded by
Marvin Scott
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Indiana
(Class 3)

Most recent
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Kornblum
United States Ambassador to Germany
Succeeded by
William Timken
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mark Kirk
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Roy Blunt