Baucus affair with DOJ employee, U.S. attorney nominee 'well known'

Sen. Max Baucus's (D-Mont.) spokesman confirmed late Friday that the senator is involved in a romantic relationship with Justice Department employee Melodee Hanes, whom he nominated to be a U.S. attorney in Montana in early 2009.

A source close to the senator told The Hill that Baucus's relationship with Hanes is well known, especially following what they called his "nasty" divorce from former wife, Wanda, which was finalized in the spring of 2009.

ADVERTISEMENT
Hanes is an administrator in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and like Baucus, she is divorced. The senator's office confirmed on Friday that Hanes currently lives with Baucus, and that she voluntarily withdrew her name for consideration for a U.S. Attorney position

Baucus spokesman Tyler Matsdorf also said on Friday that Baucus's relationship with Hanes was neither the cause of his divorce nor the result of the affair.

"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 ... 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.

“In no way was their relationship the cause of their respective divorces,” Matsdorf said in a statement.

“After withdrawing from consideration for U.S. Attorney, Ms. Hanes independently applied for her current position at the Department of Justice. Having extensive experience and qualifications in the field, Ms. Hanes was awarded the position based solely on her merit. Since then she has excelled in her role,” he added.

H/T: Main Justice