December 5th, 2009
02:29 PM ET
8 months ago

Baucus admits he nominated girlfriend for U.S. Attorney

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus nominated his girlfriend for U.S. Attorney.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus nominated his girlfriend for U.S. Attorney.

Washington (CNN)— Sen. Max Baucus’ office confirmed Saturday the Montana Democrat was in a relationship with a woman he also recommended for U.S. Attorney.

According to a statement released by the senator's office, both Baucus and Melodee Hanes decided to withdraw her name for personal reasons, adding that their relationship was not the cause of their respective divorces.

"When Senator Baucus and Melodee Hanes, his former state director, realized that their relationship was developing beyond a purely professional nature, Melodee began the process of resigning her Senate employment," Ty Matsdorf, a spokesman for Sen. Baucus said in a statement. "With an extensive background as a prosecutor and extensive legal experience, Ms. Hanes submitted her name for consideration for the U.S Attorney position from Montana."

The statement, which includes a copy of Hanes' resume, shows years of political and defense experience. Her name was one of six recommended for U.S. Attorney. After "extensive evaluation," by a third party, Hanes' name was submitted as one of three to be considered for the position, it said. After further interviews by Baucus and the junior senator from the state, Jon Tester, Hanes' name was submitted to the White House along with two other top candidates, it added.

"While her personal relationship with Senator Baucus should in no way be either a qualifier or a disqualifier for the position, during the nomination process and after much reflection, both Senator Baucus and Ms. Hanes agreed that she should withdraw her name from consideration because they wanted to live together in Washington, DC," Matsdorf said.

Baucus, the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, has been in the spotlight for his prominent role in the health care debate.

UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued a statement about the development, saying "Max is a good friend an outstanding Senator and he has my full support."

A Democratic leadership aide defended Baucus saying, "she withdrew of her own accord and is not the nominee. There's no real issue here other than that the press likes a good story where they can use the word "girlfriend." It's doubtful that there's any ethical and certainly no legal issues."

–CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report.


Filed under: Max Baucus • Popular Posts
soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. Hannah, GA

    Is he married?

    December 5, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. diridi

    i do not know where we are...lord save usa....mark sanderson, now this....lord save this nonsense...

    December 5, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Texas Longhorn talks Truth

    Just more of the immoral acts of the immoral faltering Democrats whose party will soon disappear.

    December 5, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Carlos

    Just another class act democrap, hey it was cheaper for him this way than paying her for it each time.

    December 5, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. D

    CNN does not put party affiliation of a politicians who has done something not so ethical– he must be a democrat............
    (stop the media bias CNN)

    December 5, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. rob

    Interesting how this guy has been a thorn in the side of the Dems for the Health Care Bill and all of the sudden this story comes out. These dems play hard ball, any of you dems out there who don't tow the line you better make sure there are no skeletons in the closet.

    Nov. 2010 can't come fast enough.

    December 5, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. Macho Macho

    Gee, how alarming, just more of Washington's nepotistic all in the family organized crime syndicate...where are the Bush's, Clinton's and the Kennedy's?

    December 5, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. sam

    nothin bad in it!

    December 5, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Why cant the antichrist be a woman

    Baucus is owned and paid for by the Death Assurance Companies.Another republican plant to kill the bill for health care.Couldnt happen to a nicer guy.

    December 5, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. Tommygunn

    What AMERICAN hasn't seen this in the workplace?

    I'm not mad at him, I would like to see his wife recommend someone as well.....

    What I am upset with....is his denial of HEALTHCARE in AMERICA, and how he is not BACKING the GOAL of our NATIONAL SECURITY through HEALTH-WORK-DEFENCE at the end of the day as the true DEMOCRAT. This BLUE DOG only states the less obvious, he is scared of his true position for CORE VALUES of TREAT EVERYONE the WAY YOU WOULD WANT TO BE TREATED....

    December 5, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. katiec

    Another typical politician who believes do as I say, not as I do.
    Baucus was ecstatic about grabbing the headlines, prancing in front of cameras while tearing down Public Option and touting his unworkable, irresponsible co-op plan (which very much favored the
    insurance companies).
    Do not imagine he is as eager on this. Shows once again what
    a phoney he is.

    December 5, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. Bob of Lompoc

    I thought about robbing a bank once, but didn't do it. So what? Yawn. More Republican attempts to trash some Democrat, somewhere, in
    any manner possible. Nice try Republicans. You down to 18% yet?

    December 5, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. db

    This guy shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the Finance Committee, health care reform, or the United States Senate for that matter.

    December 5, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Helene

    What is wrong with MEN in this country ? And politicians too ? Who do they think they are ?

    December 5, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. David D.

    Yet another incumbent to vote out ASAP. In a corporation, he would have been fired for this most likely or the organization would have been vulnerable to a big lawsuit.

    December 5, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. Bob of Lompoc

    Hey Texas Longhorn Talks Truth: Are you another of those Republican wingnuts? The American Democratic Party is the oldest political party in the World. We will never die. In fact, you might take a look over your shoulder there is Texas. You don't have that State tied up like you used to, do ya cowboy? Nck, nck, nck.

    December 5, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. predictable

    Stop pointing fingers at the Dems.

    Does anybody remember how Lisa Murkowski became senator?
    Her daddy (then Alaska Governor) appointed here to fill the seat!

    How soon we forget...

    December 5, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Fed Up

    How sweet!! Hope she was worth it.

    December 5, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. Greg in Milwaukee

    I like Obama and all, but it just seems like he is way too shady to be a for real president.

    December 5, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. Pedro

    Don't know what's the drama. This kind of stuff happens all the time in some countries and even in the US.

    December 5, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. Fitz in Texas

    Just another Democrat showing their true colors.

    December 5, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. Rick

    If elected officials could keep their pants zipped, their hands in their own pockets, their tongue behind their teeth, their family values and their focus on the job for which they were elected...we might get something done in this country other than padding the pockets of the rich and powerful.

    Lucky for us the great majority of them are good and decent people.

    December 5, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. ran

    He should resign or be forced out by the people who elected him.

    This is another reason we need term limits of all our elected officials.

    We should not have professional politicians. I don't think our founders expected we would have. We need to demand term limits.

    Those in office for so long think they can do any thing they want.

    December 5, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  24. Raj Varun

    For shame Senator Baucus:( I am a Demoratic leaning independent who supported Clinton. With the misguided policies of the inept Obama administration and news like this, I'll probably vote for a Republican or independent in 2010 and 2012.

    December 5, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. Dan

    Do we really need to keep a score card of which political party is more immoral? Can't we just accept that they both seem to have about an equal number of slimeballs? Seems kind of silly to even keep track anymore...

    December 5, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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