Shays to be star witness at Lieberman hearing next week

Hmmm… Who could be the star witness for Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s just-announced hearing on wartime contracting?

It’s a safe bet that ex-Rep. Chris Shays, who served as co-chair of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, would jump at the chance to be in the Senate next week, testifying before the senator he hopes to succeed. And indeed, he did.

Lieberman is retiring at the end of this term, and Shays plans to run for the open Senate seat. Earlier today, the press release announcing the hearing, set for Sept. 21 before the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, said the witness list is “T.B.A.”

But Lieberman spokeswoman Leslie Phillips confirmed this afternoon that Shays will indeed be front and center. “Shays has been invited and has accepted!” she emailed.

Lieberman chairs the Homeland Security panel, and his office said the hearing will “examine the recent report issued by the Commission on Wartime Contracting,” including its findings that as much as $60 billion has been wasted in the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Whether there will be any time at the session for political handicapping of Connecticut’s U.S. Senate contest remains to be seen.