Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), under fire for recommending his “girlfriend” for a U.S. Attorney post, was accused in 1999 by his former chief of staff Christine Niedermeier of making repeated sexual advances. She claimed that Baucus implored her to take weekend trips with him to destinations like Disney World.
Baucus was married to his second wife at the time so he would not have been able to invoke his current “shacking up” defense of his relationship with former staffer Melodee Hanes. Both Baucus and Hanes were still married at the time Baucus claims the relationship started, but separated from their spouses. Baucus statement last week twice said that the two were living together, as if it such a fact was exculpatory of the impropriety of a U.S. Senator having a romantic relationship with a staff member, and recommending her for high appointive office.
We are not interested in the details of Baucus’ personal life except where they intersect with the abuse of his official position. The DSCC and other tormenters of Senator John Ensign (R-NV) profess the same limited interest, but you would not know it from the media coverage.
Baucus denied Niedermeier’s accusations and terminated her. Niedermeier filed suit but it was dismissed because it was filed after the deadline. Click here to read an interesting account of the dispute from 1999 by Susan Crabtree in Salon.com.