December 11th, 2009
06:45 PM ET
3 months ago

Baucus spokesman confirms Hanes pay raise

Max Baucus's spokesman confirms Hanes pay raise.
Max Baucus's spokesman confirms Hanes pay raise.

Washington (CNN) - Montana Sen. Max Baucus gave an employee with whom he later became romantically involved a raise of nearly $14,000 and recommended her for a U.S. attorney position, his spokesman confirmed Friday.

But spokesman Ty Matsdorf said Melodee Hanes' raise was comparable to the pay boost given to other members of the senator's senior staff at the same time – identical to his legislative director's pay bump, and less than his chief of staff's.

Hanes was paid $126,541 total for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, according to congressional records.

The former prosecutor, who currently works for the Justice Department, withdrew her nomination for U.S. attorney in March of 2009 because her relationship with Baucus was "changing and growing increasingly serious," according to an aide to the senator. The aide said the decision had been under discussion for several weeks before – though "around the same time as" - a March inquiry about the relationship from a Missoulian reporter.


Matsdorf also defended a taxpayer-funded overseas trip Baucus and Hanes had taken in 2008, telling CNN that the former state director had traveled in her official capacity, and had taken similar international trips without the senator.

Baucus, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, says the pair began a romantic relationship in the summer of 2008. Both had separated from their spouses at that point. Matsdorf confirmed that Hanes met with Baucus's divorce attorney in the summer of 2007, saying those meetings also took place in her official capacity.

"Melodee Hanes' interactions were in her official role as State Director and focused on scheduling and logistics, including how a potential separation between Senator Baucus and Wanda could impact the Senator's travel and work," he said in a statement.


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soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. JIll//Colorful Colorado

    Are you sure he isn't a Republican? lol

    December 11, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  2. mjm

    Pay bump.........is that what we're calling it when you're sleeping with the boss?

    December 11, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  3. Kevin

    Do they not realize that a very large percentage of the American public do not have any wages at this time. Those who are fortunate enough to have a job do not make near that much. I am fortunate and have a Masters and several certifications and do not make that much. I know hundreds of very good and educated IT telecom individuals that would be more than happy for 1/2 that - just to keep their houses. What I would not give for the days when "Public Service " meant just that. They did not ride back and fourth on the taxpayers on private jets and such weekly– they went to DC and stayed. Any commuting was done on their dime - we need to take the money back out of the Politiions, insurance companies and the folks who plan on retiring after a few years of work.

    December 11, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  4. Ted

    Hey, whats wrong with that. Dems always like to help the minorities if they will offer something in return. If she can use her assets to entice her man, why not? Dems are not exactly a moral crowd.

    December 11, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. Molly

    Throw him out Montana!

    December 11, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  6. Jokes aside

    This guy is stinks of corrupt!! from insurance companies to his girlfriend

    December 11, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  7. Ted from Calif.

    This just goes to show that all of our legislators both Republican and Democratic have a problem with ethics.

    December 11, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. Idiot_Pelosi

    Another crooked, shady politician caught with his "you know" in the cookie jar.

    Time for him to go too.

    December 11, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. shooter

    Put this crook behind bars and make him pay back the money.

    December 11, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. Tony

    It's so amazing how full of lies these politicians are. They've got to be the most corrupt people in the country, if not the world. Why do WE the American PEOPLE allow these people to stay in office? What have they done for us besides make themselves millions of dollars and screw up every law in the book meant to protect us? Get the entire Congress (with the exception of a very few) OUT of Washington.

    December 11, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  11. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    $14,000 a year is a pretty hefty price for better sex, no matter how good it may have been, but it should be discounted by a tad due to the ease of satisfying an old coot like Baucus.

    December 11, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  12. Dimslie

    Let's don't worry about whether he spent $14000 injudiciously. Let's pay more attention to the $10 trillion he's obligating us to over the next decade.

    December 11, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  13. TCM

    and this is the guy who liberals are raving about over healthcare! He's a crook like the rest of the liberals in Washington

    December 11, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  14. Pragmatic

    Didn't Bush friend "Wolfie" ... appointed to the World Bank do the same? Love may be blind but it shouldn't be stupid!

    December 11, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  15. WoW

    It's always Republicans who are blamed for corruption and bad business practices. Here is another prime example of it happening to a Democrat.

    December 11, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  16. Karen

    JERK! There are people who live on less than $14,000 a year. Jerk!

    December 11, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. wpg in ca.

    A raise in pay now for a little action later!!!!

    December 11, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  18. Ex-NC-Pub

    Baucus needs to go.....

    December 11, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  19. Jane/Seattle

    What a Bunch of UNETHICAL People! Why do we ordinary citizens have to do background checks, drug tests, and get treated like Criminals when the Government/Corporate Ruling Classes are those the MOST severely Morally Bankrupt?

    Poor people get put in jail for ages for a lousey gram of Crack or Pot as this crew run amuck breaking every law they only intend to Force er Enforce upon the poor, the unfortunate, the lost, or the Black/Brown skinned! Justice? Not in America much! Madoff is the small player in this Criminal Crowd! Peace to the World!

    December 11, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  20. New Age Independent

    It's hard to be surprised anymore with Democrat corruption. I'm not saying that Republicans do have their issues, but this has gotten out of hand. Any bets that Liberals will defend Baucus, while screaming for the impeachment of Sanford? The hypocrisy is beyond belief!

    December 11, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  21. Matt

    Hey CNN please explain how anytime a Republican gets into trouble you put the R after their name but when a Democrat gets caught doing wrong you leave out party affiliation?

    December 11, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  22. Southern Man

    If this scoundrel was a Republican the article would have written in BOLD letters GOP Senator from Montana. As it is, TYPICAL of CNN to downplay his deed or to attempt to let it roll by for all those that don't even know what party he belongs to. I have seen CNN do this many times. Does it matter? Hell yes it matters.

    December 11, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  23. Jenn, Philadelphia

    And Congress passes an almost 500 billion dollar spending bill, and is set to vote on a 900 billion dollar health bill, and prepared to propose a bill to raise the debt ceiling (rather than curb spending). This is the "change" we voted for? To quote the Who: meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    December 11, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  24. unemployed by Obama

    Time for thiss democratic crook to go. People are unemployed and he is using tax dollars to pay off his play toy. This crook needs to go, NOW

    December 11, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  25. latina

    democrats are not setting a good example to american people. bad democrats. they like to corrupt and i feel sorry for the taxpayers like me.

    December 11, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
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