The girlfriend of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) was interested in the Montana U.S. Attorney post years before he recommended her to the White House for the job and before she ever went to work for him, the Associated Press reported today.
Melodee Hanes was positioning herself to be Montana’s top federal prosecutor for at least the past seven years, Yellowstone County, Mont., attorney Dennis Paxinos, her former boss and a Republican, told the AP.
Hanes left her job as Yellowstone deputy county attorney in 2002 to work for Baucus’ re-election campaign after serving in the county prosecutor’s office since 1999. Paxinos told the news wire that she made the move to politics with the belief that it would better position her for the U.S. Attorney post.
“I don’t think it was ever her intent to fall in love with a senator,” Paxinos told the AP.
We were the first to report Friday that Hanes was one of three finalists whose names Baucus submitted to the White House as potential nominees for U.S. Attorney for Montana. Hanes withdrew earlier this year to live with the senator in Washington. President Barack Obama ultimately nominated Michael Cotter for Montana U.S. Attorney.
Hanes is now acting Deputy Administrator for Policy in the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, an arm of the Justice Department that supports research, training and programs to support juvenile justice programs throughout the country.