Saturday, December 5, 2009

Montana's Would-Be U.S. Attorney

If we recall correctly, in the Woody Allen film Hannah and Her Sisters, each character wanted to be with someone else. Maybe that describes all of Woody Allen's movies. Anyway, in real life, that A wants to be with C rather than B doesn't necessarily make any of them bad persons. In general, it all depends on the circumstances. Moreover, the details of one's private life (messy or otherwise) should be kept completely private; personal privacy is one of our most cherished assets. That is, as long as public office (or the interests of shareholders) aren't implicated. The Appalachian hiking excursions of the South Carolina governor would be example of a legitimate inquiry, while the celebrity driven controversy now engulfing a certain professional golfer falls into an entirely different category altogether.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, the New York Times ran with a flimsy, page one story about Sen. McCain's supposed inappropriate relationship with a lobbyist. The story was later completely discredited. This is the same news organization that didn't lift a finger to look into McCain's opponent's qualifications or agenda.

So can you image the massive headlines that would have resulted in March if someone on McCain's side of the aisle tried to pull this stunt?
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus’ office confirmed late Friday night that the Montana Democrat was carrying on an affair with his state office director, Melodee Hanes, when he nominated her to be U.S. attorney in Montana.
According to a source familiar with their relationship, Hanes and Baucus began their relationship in the summer of 2008 – nearly a year before Baucus and his wife, Wanda, divorced in April 2009. The Senator had informally separated from his wife in March 2008 and they were living apart when he began dating Hanes, according to Baucus' office.
Hanes ended her employment with Baucus in the spring of this year.
Hanes, who is divorced and now lives with Baucus in the Eastern Market neighborhood of Washington, D.C., ultimately withdrew her name from consideration for the U.S. attorney position in order to move to Washington, and she now works in the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention as a counselor to the administrator.
According a Baucus spokesman, Hanes got the DOJ job "based solely on her merit."