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.
If you are a U.S. senator and have a cool idea about taxes but are worried to speak it aloud for fear some of your constituents will peel your hide off in small strips ... well, there is hope. A couple of your colleagues have come up with a plan.
There is some movement in Washington toward reforming the tax code which may sound like mere legislation but, as Nancy Cook of the National Journal writes, is being treated more like combat by some interested parties.
Seems K Street and Max Baucus were looking forward to a fun year of fixing up the tax code and making it stand up and salute. But now the IRS has gone and muddied the waters. As Erik Wasson and Peter Schroeder write at The Hill:
Former state senator and Republican Corey Stapleton of Montana is jumping into the race to challenge a long-serving Senate Democrat, Max Baucus. One Republican strategist says Stapleton, a former state senator and retired officer in the Navy, has a "good story to tell," calling the small business owner a "young, fresh face."
Every time you think Harry Reid can't be even more crassly political and partisan, you're proven wrong. He's now appointed Patty Murray—chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)—to be co-chair of the new deficit supercommittee.
Last week, President Obama opined that health care "easily lends itself to demagoguery and political gamesmanship, and misrepresentation and misunderstanding." No one has done more to demonstrate the truth of this assertion than the president himself. In light of such concerns, the fairest thing might be to let the left describe Obamacare in its own words, free of any potentially false portrayals by those who oppose it -- namely, conservatives, independents, libertarians, and the bulk of the voters in Massachusetts.