The political committee for former Montana senator Max Baucus, a Democrat, wrote a large check to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee just days before being confirmed as the new U.S. ambassador to China. According to the DSCC's public filings, Friends of Max Baucus made a donation of $475,000 to the organization on January 31. Read a copy of the filing here, where Baucus's donation is listed on page 6.
Three days before the donation, Baucus appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations committee for his hearing, where he said he was "not an expert on China" and appeared unfamiliar with aspects of the Obama administration's policy on China.
On February 6, the Senate voted unanimously to confirm Baucus as ambassador.
Baucus had announced last year that he would not seek another term in the Senate in 2014. The leading Democratic contender for the open seat was erstwhile lieutenant governor John Walsh, who was actually appointed to the vacated seat by Montana's Democratic governor and sworn in on February 11. The move was designed to give Democrats a small incumbency advantage before the November election. The Cook Political Report says the race still leans Republican, with first-term congressman Steve Daines the most likely GOP nominee for the seat.