You could go to a hundred Washington charity galas and not see anything like this: a U.S. senator tumbling into a fountain.

It sounds like a set piece from “Scandal” or maybe a classic episode of “The O.C.” — but it happened in real-life to Sen. Tom Coburn Wednesday night at the March of Dimes Gourmet gala, Roll Call reports.

The setting was the National Building Museum, one of the most dazzling party venues in town with its marble columns and soaring ceilings, though, yes, many have wondered about the mayhem potential posed by its elegant yet strikingly low-slung fountain, its rim virtually flush with the ground. Unclear exactly what happened, but the Capitol Hill paper cites two sources and the tacit acknowledgment of the Oklahoma Republican’s press rep that the senator took an accidental bath. From Roll Call’s story:

This wasn’t some quick toe-in-toe-out of a shallow fountain. The senator took a serious dive. When he emerged, he was soaked to his neck, his suit was sopping and ”water had to be poured from his cowboy boots.”
“That’s just a natural reaction to making the Time 100 list,” quipped Coburn spokesman John Hart.

Updated, 11 a.m.: A rep for the Building Museums assures us that “incidents like this are extremely rare.” Said Brett Rodgers, the director of communications and marketing, “the fountain is surrounded by large planters that help prevent visitors from stepping too close, so this was likely just a run-of-the-mill misstep.”