Senator Max Baucus Admits That He Had Romantic Relationship with Former Staffer When He Nominated Her For U.S. Attorney Position

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus has admitted that he was romantically involved with a former staffer when he recommended her earlier this year to become the next U.S. attorney for Montana. Baucus only recently separated from his second wife, Ty Matsdorf, and had a romantic relationship with his former staffer Melodee Hanes starting in the summer of 2008. He nominated her for the appointment in March but they later agreed to withdraw the nomination when they moved into the same house.

The Montana Democrat insists that his relationship with his girlfriend had nothing to do with his decision, even though he did not reveal the personal relationship at the time. This would seem a basic ethical requirement if you are going to push your girlfriend for a high appointment. I also fail to see why Hanes was one of the best candidates for this position.

Her background is not without experience but would not naturally make her a candidate for the top federal prosecutor position. A graduate of Drake, she did work as a prosecutor with the Yellowstone County Attorney’s office for three years from 1999 to 2002. She also served as a prosecutor from 1986 to 1998 for the Polk County Attorney’s Office, Des Moines, IA. To her credit, that is a good deal of litigation experience, though it is not in the federal system. The question is whether such experience would make her a natural choice for the top spot in the state. She also spent a few years in private practice after law school.

This is her resume: Hanes-resume

You can also download her cv at the DOJ site, click here.

However, his spokesman insisted “Senator Baucus recommended each of the three candidates based solely on qualifications, and merit, knowing whichever one the White House selected would serve Montana well.”

Hanes began working for Baucus in 2002 and left his office for the Justice Department earlier this year.

For the full story, click here.

40 thoughts on “Senator Max Baucus Admits That He Had Romantic Relationship with Former Staffer When He Nominated Her For U.S. Attorney Position”

  1. BIL–

    Thanks for the link to that article about Baucus at

    Remember this story?

    Favoritism Shown Towards Wolfowitz’s Girlfriend (Huffington Post, 4/4/07)

    Employees of the World Bank have been “expressing concern, dismay, and outrage” regarding favoritism shown by the bank and the Bush administration towards the one-time girlfriend of World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, according to an internal memo circulated within the bank by the World Bank Group Association, which represents the rights of the bank’s 13,000 employees. Among other things, the April 3 memo alleges that Shaha Riza, Wolfowitz’s romantic interest was given a “promotion [that] clearly does not conform” to bank procedures. Moreover, the memo alleges, she was then given a raise “more than double the amount allowed” by the bank’s rules.

  2. I’m not sure what’s more disturbing; the fact these desiccated coconuts have a sex drive or they’re hypocrites of highest order?!?!

    Too bad they’re involved in deciding/obstructing the future of a great country.

  3. I wouldn’t throw too many rocks at him. Unless there’s more I don’t know about, their starting dating and their working together happened at the same period of time. He might have been of good faith when he nominated her, considering her personality to be an asset for that position without noticing his judgement was biased. And, they withdrew the nomination when their relationship became more clear, so there’s not much remaining to complain about. I can think of more shocking behaviors.

  4. Objectifier–

    Summathem young gals think the ole guys look better if they’ve got thick wads of greenbacks. That’s why Larry King’s been married so many times. It ain’t cuz of his dashing good looks and boyish charm.

  5. FFLEO: As the young gals say, those old guys always look better at closing time….

  6. Objectifier,

    Theys a ol’ countree honky-tonk sayin’ that hangs in the smoke-filled ‘r of bars throughout this great land of ourn’…

    “men cheat down while women cheat up”

  7. What’s the deal here?

    Mel is a dead ringer for Harriet Myers.

    Does SNL still have Rachel Dratch available to play her?

    Did Mel sleep with Max just to get named U.S. Attorney?

    Did Max promise Mel the job to get her to go down?

    Is Max such a total and complete idiot that he is — still — able to defend this arrangement? Does he not see the abuse of the trust placed in him by the voters who elected him to the Senate. Does he not realize how brutally he has betrayed his colleagues in the Senate who relied on him?

    Max, get the f out of here, you moron! Go form a firm with Elliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Gary Hart, Mark Sanford, John Ensign and Larry Craig, and offer advice to the lovelorn on cable TV.

  8. Winski 1, December 5, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Wait a second..isn’t Maxie a Democrat?? OR, has he finally become what he always aspired to be – a republican wannabee??

    It is my understanding that Montana is fairly conservative. It is traditionally Republican and in order for a democrat to win, they have to have an inside stretch. They have one of the strictest Pro Hac Vice allocations of any state. One per life time. That was the way it was 5 years ago. You ought to see the admission process it is even more demanding…..

  9. I could care less where any male decides to stick his appendage and I could care less where any female accepts such stickery, but I do care when they use their ability to stick as currency to purchase a job in the Federal Government.

    Max, accepting your stick is not a requirement for an U S Attorney spot. I understand that your stick is probably the best stick ever made and that any staffer accepting your stick deserves rewards untold, but … now hear me on this … your stick means dick to the rest of us. In fact, it could be argued, given the nature of the publicity that your stick-use attracts, that any woman who accepts your stick has lost her mind and isn’t qualified to do dick.

  10. Wait a second..isn’t Maxie a Democrat?? OR, has he finally become what he always aspired to be – a republican wannabee??

  11. Byron,

    Prof T’s fairness is a major draw to this site for me. If there are factual errors that might appear biased at first blush, Mr. Turley will always correct those when you submit your evidence in a reply within the Corrections section of the blawg.

    All humans are biased, although Professor Turley is certainly as unbiased as possible with his blawg and he is always open to reasoned rebuttals.

  12. Prof. Turley:

    thank you for showing a democrat involved in scum baggery for a change.

    I appreciate the “fair and balanced” nature of your web site.

  13. Gee Nal, I thought you were trying to say,

    Me, Mel, Mel..Mel Tillis…

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