...[more]...Sen. Max Baucus (Democrat-Mont.), chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, gave a nearly $14,000 pay raise to a female staffer in 2008, at the time he was becoming romantically involved with her, and later that year took her on a taxpayer-funded trip to Southeast Asia and the Middle East, though foreign policy was not her specialty.
Late last Friday, Baucus acknowledged his relationship with Melodee Hanes, whom he nominated for the job of U.S. attorney in Montana, after it was first reported on the website MainJustice.com. But he said that Hanes withdrew from consideration for the job when the relationship became more serious. The following day, Baucus dismissed calls for an ethics investigation, saying, “I went out of my way to be up and up.”
Since his announcement, more details of the relationship have emerged, raising questions about a workplace romance between a boss and employee that Baucus tried to keep quiet, and apparently contradicting his explanation for why Hanes’s nomination was withdrawn.
Jodi Rave, a former reporter for the Missoulian revealed over the weekend that the paper informed Baucus in March that it was poised to publish a story about Hanes’s relationship with the senator and the fact that he had nominated her for the U.S. attorney job.
The next day, Hanes withdrew from consideration. According to the Missoulian, Baucus’s office never acknowledged a relationship between the two, and the paper did not run a story....