This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
If you had to buy Sen. Patrick Leahy a gift and you had a $10 limit, what would you buy?
Sen. Mike Lee's answer: A Batman snuggie.
Lee and his Utah colleague, Sen. Orrin Hatch, were two of the 60 senators who participated in the second-annual Senate Secret Santa exchange, which took place earlier this week. Twenty Republicans joined 40 Democrats and gave as much cross-party gifts as possible.
Lee pulled the name of Leahy, the Judiciary Chairman, while Hatch had to find a cheap gift for Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.
So how did Lee come up with his kitchy idea? He combined two things commonly known about Leahy: He's a Batman fanatic, who has cameos in the recent movies, and he's from Vermont where it is darn cold.
Hatch stuck to a Utah theme, giving Rockefeller a coffee-table book of Valoy Eaton's western landscapes.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., drew Lee's name. He decided to make a play off of Lee's not-so-secret desire to be a pirate on the high seas.
In speeches, Lee often jokingly refers to the antiquated congressional power of issuing a "letter of marque and reprisal," which grants the bear the right to act as a pirate in the name of the U.S. government. Lee says before he leaves the Senate, he wants such a letter, an eye patch and a ship.
Levin gave Lee the paperback of "Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a generation of swashbuckling Jews carved out an empire in the New World in their quest for treasure, religious freedom and revenge."
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., bought Hatch a gift that played off of the Utah Republican's love of music. He gave Hatch the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir's "Christmas at the Brooklyn Tabernacle."