The Wall Street Journal observes:
Here’s a poser: Suppose a public official is accused of recommending his girlfriend for a promotion, though he was the one who first flagged the potential conflict of interest and officials had refused to let him recuse himself from decisions about the woman. Should he lose his job?
That’s precisely what happened in 2007 to Paul Wolfowitz, who was run out of the World Bank on the pretext that he had given his girlfriend a raise. In fact, Mr. Wolfowitz had made bank officials aware that his girlfriend already worked at the bank before he accepted the job as president, and bank officials had raised no objection to the job change that removed his girlfriend from any direct reporting to Mr. Wolfowitz. The ethical uproar was a politically convenient excuse, fanned by the media, to oust Mr. Wolfowitz when his real offense was that he was too hard on corruption.
So it’s going to be fascinating to see how the press corps and political class react to the news that Montana Senator Max Baucus recommended a staff member who was his girlfriend for the plum job of U.S. Attorney. Mr. Baucus disclosed the attempted sweetheart deal early Saturday after media inquiries made clear the story was breaking.
I wouldn’t expect consistency from these folks. After all, Wolfowitz was fighting corruption, which made him the enemy. Baucus is promoting corruption.
UPDATE: Jon Tester (D-MT) denies any knowledge:
Sen. Jon Tester said Sunday he had limited involvement with fellow Montana Democrat Max Baucus’s decision to float his girlfriend as a possible nominee for a top prosecutor position in Montana.
In an interview with POLITICO, Tester said “no” when asked if he was aware that Melodee Hanes and Baucus were engaged in a romantic relationship when he interviewed Hanes for the position of U.S. attorney in Montana earlier this year.
Tester called Hanes “well-qualified” but said “it was Max’s call” to include her name with two others on a list for the White House to consider before choosing a nominee for the position.