December 5th, 2009
02:29 PM ET
9 years ago

Baucus admits he nominated girlfriend for U.S. Attorney

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. dave

    don't they EVER learn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 5, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. Carl Justus

    Just another reason that we should have more women in congress than men.
    It the men would think about something besides what is their pants it would be a miracle.

    December 5, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Elyne

    Is he crazy or what????? I hate cheaters!!!

    December 5, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. Jill

    I've lost all respect.

    December 5, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Bob in Pa

    lolllll ! Thanks, I neeed that Max.

    December 5, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  6. bob in LA

    How hard is it for these politians- both parties – to keep their hands off co-workers?
    More importantly- why don't they see things like jobs offers or promotions are goign to be seen as questionable when they do have an involvement?
    Too Sad!

    December 5, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. Carl

    This guy is a real creep... He is NOT working for Montana or the nation's best interests...only his own...and that of his girlfriend. This is the same political hack whose pockets are stuffed with healthcare industry the same time he is writing healthcare legislation for everyone but himself... The American voter needs to throw bums like this out of office. The arrogance is beyond anyone's imagination!

    December 5, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. Bob

    nad in so far as the health care debate goes, i will be very glad to see it go. and if it never comes back it will be too soon lol

    December 5, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. Tony

    We're all well aware that he's one of the many corrupt politicians working for corporate America rather than the people's interests. Hopefully the people in his state are smart enough to vote him out of office next election.

    December 5, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. T

    And these Congressional morons wonder why the American people do not trust any of them.

    December 5, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Scott Alexander

    If you want to see a self-proclaimed Democrat who's kidding nobody, then look no further than Max Baucus.

    He gets paid off by the Health Care industry and reeks of nepotism and corruption. He's not a Democrat. He's a Republican.

    Don't get me wrong, Democrats aren't much better. Democrats (except for a rare few) are too spineless and weak to be corrupt.

    It's a stupid choice to have to make, but I'd rather thave a spineless do-nothing Democrat than a greedy pro-corruption Republican. There's no going back to the good side for the least there's hope that one day Democrats (the good ones, not the Max Baucus kind) will actually do something positive for this country rather than letting the other side get their punches in.

    December 5, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. Matt

    Start removing all Career Politicians now!

    December 5, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. rjs

    First line of the story : "Sen. Max Baucus’ office confirmed Saturday the Montana Democrat ..."

    So D, what part of that didn't you understand? You wing nuts gotta learn to read. Thinking independently would also help.

    December 5, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |

    To the Texas Longhorn:

    You folks in Texas should be the last ones to talk about immoral acts after having the Bush Administration for over eight years committing the most outrageous acts such as torture, ill truths which brought us to a nonjustified war in Iraq which led to the loss of thousands of young American lives, etc. This is what true immorality is !!

    December 5, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. Dan

    Another donkey, caught in the act...... Just say No to ObamaCare!

    December 5, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. that1guy

    Baucus always has been just barely a Democrat. All he needs now is a gay scandal to become a full-fledged Republican senator.

    December 5, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  17. mcneil

    Granted, no one is perfect in this world. But politicians seem so good at finding ways to pock themselves in the eyes.

    December 5, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. Albo58

    ...but he has Harry's full support! Funny how tight these rats become everytime they get caught doing something illegally or unethically. Throw these bums out NOW!

    December 5, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. Al Sefati

    if she is qualified then why not?

    December 5, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    more smutt in Washington,DC America needs to clean house of all.

    December 5, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. Matt_NJ

    This is what our Congress has turned into. As a matter of fact, this example is nothing compared with the way business gets done on Capital Hill. It's usually much worse and more corrupt than this, cash for favors, hiring for favors etc. The founding fathers are turning in their graves... Yes, these folks are elected, but as we all know, it takes TONS of cash to get elected nowadays...which means certain people have a huge edge and those without cash have to sell their souls to supporters and act as their puppets.... We should have term limits for all of Congress...period.

    December 5, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. NVa Native

    Isn't this guy a so called "Blue-Dog" Democrate who is just as much Repub as Dem?
    So it would figure his slimey conservative side would come out – and nepotisim isn't as bad as what is typical of Repubs. At least his Repub side isn't as criminal as Cheney, Vitter, Ensign, Craig, Foley, Delay, Abremoff, Rove, etc., etc.
    Bring on the 2010 elections so we can remove blue dogs and the obstructionist mob of "NO" progress.

    December 5, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. jules sand-perkins

    Nothing wrong done, unless the lady failed to go to law school. Boy, we are prudes!

    A comment mentioned possessives. All of y'all check 'em out further (Phrygian spring syndrome) before we lose all of our language:

    Jesus' words in red;
    Moses' laws;
    Hanes's resume;
    the Kennedys' boats;
    John Kennedy's rocking chair.

    December 5, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Cobra Montana

    Baucus is just another scum bag that is camped out in Washington. The likes of him us thier influence to get their girl friends high paying jobs. This guy needs to be taken out of office and if possible recalled and fired.

    December 5, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  25. pk

    D – didn't you read the article? The very first sentence says he's a Montana Democrat.

    December 5, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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