The problem is, it seems that Baucus and Melodee Hanes, both still married, were already in that relationship back in March when he sent her name to the White House as a candidate for US Attorney from Montana.
Baucus’ attempt to explain the situation was, at the very least, somewhat undeft.
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.
Unless there’s something I’m missing, what the Senator is saying here is that he thinks it’s perfectly appropriate to promote the career of a meritorious subordinate with whom he’s secretly having a sexual relationship, but (and the lady agrees) it’s inappropriate to be seen promoting the career of someone he’s openly involved with. For his part, Hanes’ ex-husband believes that both the nomination and the withdrawal were about the relationship.
Hanes explained her withdrawal at the time by saying “it would have been an honor and a privilege to serve Montana as the United States Attorney, I have been presented with other opportunities that I felt I could not bypass.” She currently works for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.