The Washington Times - December 7, 2009, 03:18PM

Sen. Max Baucus admitted Saturday that he recommended a senior staffer for the U.S. attorney job in Montana while he was involved romantically with her.  The staffer, Melodee Hanes, withdrew her nomination and eventually took a job with the Department of Justice. Baucus has defended the nomination as “fair,” for the woman with whom he now shares his home in D.C.

From the Washington Post:

“Baucus said in a statement that the recommendation was part of “an open and fair process” and that Hanes, now a senior Justice Department official, was qualified for the job because of her experience as a trial prosecutor and child-abuse expert. The couple now live together in the senator’s home in Capitol Hill.”


“He said he submitted six names to an unidentified “third-party reviewer,” who winnowed the list down to Hanes, Bozeman attorney Mike Wheat and Helena attorney Michael W. Cotter. President Obama forwarded Cotter’s name to the Senate in September.

“Baucus said that “in the end, we decided it would be best for Mel to withdraw her name from consideration.” He said Hanes applied for the Justice Department job independently and “got the DOJ job on her merit.”

Today’s local news blogging starts with a quote of the day for its candid and comedic digression.

Montana bloggers comment:

Quote of the Day:

“Keep in mind that most of us get screwed by Max as part of the normal course of business, and that no lucrative appointments await us.”

-Piece of Mind

Electric City Weblog: Baucus as a repeat offender?

The Last Best Place: More on “Mad Max.”

“He’s not my senator anymore, but who knew Max even had it in him? I mean this is a guy who uses a bedroom in his mothers house to claim Montana residency for crying out loud!”

Electric City Weblog: L’Affaire Baucus.

“We’ve all known since Andrew Jackson made it perfectly clear, that American politics is a cronyistic sport. It shouldn’t work that way. But it does, is probably irredeemable, and usually no one but the voters and a politician’s conscience are the arbiters and then on a sparing and delayed basis. So when we’re faced down with this bit of Baucus favoritism, I suppose my immediate question is — Is anyone really surprised by this?”

Piece of Mind: A royal screwing.

“Years ago, in the early 90’s and while still single, I briefly dated a former Baucus staffer. (It didn’t work out – we were never that close, and when she said “Stop following me or I’ll call the cops!”, I sensed that it was time to move on.) Even as a ex-staffer, she was extremely devoted to Max. (That’s part of why we didn’t harmonize.)”

Juxtaposition in the News: The Ethical Senator and the Mayor.

Electric City Weblog: A Plea Bargain?

“[Melodee Hanes] (is) probably a fine lawyer, and probably doing fine at her job. As far as getting it without any relationship to her relationship though, well, isn’t the whole point of the article that she almost was nominated for the US Attorney’s job because of her relationship? We’re told, though, that this one was different.”

The Last Best Place: Baucus sweet melodee.

“Max Baucus: Hey, You Know Who’d Make an Outstanding US Attorney? My Special Friend. She Knows All About Oral Arguments, Legal Briefs, and Penal Colonies, If You Know What I Mean.”

Left In The West: A Baucus scandal?