Max Baucus

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Max Baucus
Max Baucus.jpg
U.S. Ambassador to China
In office
PredecessorGary Locke
Prior offices
U.S. Senator
U.S. Representative
Montana State Representative
Bachelor'sStanford University
J.D.Stanford University
Date of birthDecember 11, 1941
Place of birthHelena, Montana
Net worth(2012) $182,001
ReligionUnited Church of Christ
Office website
Max Sieben Baucus (b. December 11, 1941, in Helena, MT) is the current U.S. Ambassador to China. Baucus was confirmed by the Senate on February 6, 2014, by a vote of 96-0.[1] Baucus then resigned his seat in the U.S. Senate. He served as a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from 1978-2014, representing Montana.[2]


Baucus was born in Helena, Montana. He attended Carleton College in Minnesota for a year before transferring to Stanford University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics in 1964. After earning his undergraduate degree, he attended Stanford Law School, graduating with a Juris Doctor in 1967.[3]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Baucus' academic, professional and political career:[4]

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Baucus served on the following committees before his appointment to the Ambassadorship to China:[5]


Baucus served on the following committees:

  • United States Senate Committee on Finance (Chairman)
    • As Chairman of the full committee, Sen. Baucus served as an ex-officio member of all subcommittees of which he was not already a full member.
    • Subcommittee on Taxation, IRS Oversight, and Long-term Growth

Confirmation Vote

Baucus was confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to China on February 6, 2014, by a vote of 96-0.[1]

Max Baucus confirmation vote, February 6, 2014
Party Votes for Approveda Votes against Defeatedd Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 52 0 52
Republican Party Republicans 42 0 42
Independent Independents 2 0 2
Total Votes 96 0 96

Key votes

113th Congress

The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 224 out of the 3215 introduced bills (7 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[7] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Baucus's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[8]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "Yes" Baucus voted for the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[9]


No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "Yes" Baucus voted for H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.[10]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "Yes" During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[11] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Baucus voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[12]


Mexico-U.S. border

Voted "No" Baucus voted against Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[13]



Baucus said if can't be fixed in a timely fashion, then Congress needs to consider delaying penalties for not having insurance. He said, "It’s not right to penalize people because of mistakes that the government has made because the exchange isn’t working. So the better approach is making sure the exchange is working so we don’t have to worry about the penalty problem." He expressed frustration with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying, "I’m a little, frankly, concerned and a little disappointed that earlier discussions have not been as forthcoming as I’d like them to have been. Maybe she and others didn’t know themselves — that in and of itself raises a question: Why in the world didn’t she know? That’s her job to know."[14]

Social issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Voted "Yes" Baucus voted for S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[15]

Background checks on gun sales

Nay3.png On April 17, 2013, the U.S. Senate took a vote on and defeated a measure that would have expanded federal background checks for firearms purchases.[16] The vote was 54-46, with supporters falling six votes short of the required 60-vote threshold.[17] Baucus was one of the 4 Democratic Senators who voted against the amendment.[18]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Yea3.png Baucus voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by an 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[19]


On The Issues Vote Match

Max Baucus' Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Baucus is a Centrist. Baucus received a score of 53 percent on social issues and 40 percent on economic issues.[20]

Note: We are working to resolve inaccuracies with this information. Thank you for your patience.

On The Issues organization logo.

IRS targeting

On May 10, 2013, news broke that various branches of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had specifically targeted conservative groups' applications for tax-exempt status. This began during the tea party surge in 2010. The agency was separating tax-exempt applications by searching for political terms such as "tea party" and "patriot." In June 2011, an IRS official was briefed on these transgressions and asked that this practice end. The flagging continued, however, when the criteria was changed in January 2012 to look out for groups educating on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.[21]

The targeting included allegations that tea party groups were forced to provide information not asked of other tax exempt groups. Examples of this included requests for donor information, Facebook posts, resumes and political intentions of group officials and connections to other groups.[22][23]

On May 16, IRS Commissioner Steven Miller announced his resignation. He still testified at the hearings the next day.[24]

As a result of this scandal, Republicans and many Democratic members of Congress, including Baucus, publicly called for a deeper investigation into these matters. The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on May 17 during which it was disclosed that the Obama administration was made aware of the targeting on June 4, 2012.[25]

On May 20, Senators Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch sent a written inquiry regarding the process for how the agency reviewed applications for tax exempt status. The letter also requested any correspondence between White House officials and the IRS mentioning 501(c) organizations.[26]

During the May 22 House committee hearing on the issue, Lois Lerner, head of the IRS tax-exempt organizations office, declined to answer questions citing her Fifth Amendment right.[27] The next day, May 23, Lerner was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation after Senators John McCain and Carl Levin called on IRS officials to place her on suspension.[28] Lerner retired on September 23, 2013.[29]

Fundraiser for Walsh

Jon Tester and Max Baucus held a fundraiser in November 2013 for Democratic candidate John Walsh, who was running for Montana's U.S. Senate seat in 2014 before dropping out of the race due to a plagiarism scandal. Baucus was appointed U.S. Ambassador to China and did not seek re-election. The fundraiser featured Democrat Chuck Schumer from New York. This fundraiser angered Democrat John Bohlinger, who challenged Walsh in the primary. He said, "I am really troubled by the involvement of the Washington insiders in a Montana Democratic senatorial primary race. They should have no business of trying to influence an outcome of an election here." Bohlinger continued to blast D.C. donors saying, "I’ll be raising money, but it will be far lesser amounts than the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (of Washington, D.C.) will pour into Walsh’s campaign fund. Mine will be money that comes from Montanans. I’m really offended by the DSCC and their interest in this (primary)."[30]



See also: United States Senate elections in Montana, 2014

On April 23, 2013, Baucus announced that he would not be seeking re-election in 2014.[31] On February 6, 2014, the Senate voted 96-0 to confirm Baucus as U.S. Ambassador to China.[32] The appointment set off a chain reaction in the Senate, as Baucus' vacancy opened up the chairmanship of the high profile Senate Finance Committee. Ron Wyden of Oregon assumed the chairmanship and in turn, gave up his position as chairman of the Energy Committee.[33] Mary Landrieu took Wyden's spot on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She was previously the chairwoman of the Small Business Committee, so Maria Cantwell stepped in to fill Landrieu's position on the Small Business Committee. Jon Tester from Montana moved into Cantwell's previous position as the chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.[34]

In Montana, Democratic Governor Steve Bullock appointed Lt. Governor John Walsh to finish out Baucus' term.[35][36]


On November 4, 2008, Baucus won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Bob Kelleher (R).[37]

U.S. Senate, Montana General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMax Baucus Incumbent 72.9% 348,289
     Republican Bob Kelleher 27.1% 129,369
Total Votes 477,658

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Baucus is available dating back to 2002. Based on available campaign finance records, Baucus raised a total of $6,719,728 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 24, 2013.[43]

Max Baucus's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2002 U.S. Senate (Montana) Won $6,719,728
Grand Total Raised $6,719,728


Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Baucus' reports.[44]

Top recipients of lobbyist contributions

On a list of Top 10 Recipients of Contributions from Lobbyists in 2013 from, Baucus ranked second on the list with $125,094 in lobbyist contributions.[48]


Breakdown of the source of Baucus' campaign funds before the 2010 election.

Baucus won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2008. During that re-election cycle, Baucus' campaign committee raised a total of $11,602,479 and spent $9,305,359.[49]

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a two-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of two different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Baucus' net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $151,003 and $887,998. That averages to $519,500.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2012 of $13,566,333.90. Baucus ranked as the 81st most wealthy senator in 2012.[50] Between 2004 and 2012, Baucus' calculated net worth[51] increased by an average of 20 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[52]

Max Baucus Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2004 to 2012:164%
Average annual growth:20%[53]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[54]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.

PGI: Donation Concentration Metric

See also: The Donation Concentration Metric (U.S. Congress Personal Gain Index)

Filings required by the Federal Election Commission report on the industries that give to each candidate. Using campaign filings and information calculated by, Ballotpedia calculated the percentage of donations by industry received by each incumbent over the course of his or her career (or 1989 and later, if elected prior to 1988). In the 113th Congress, Baucus was the chair of the United States Senate Committee on Finance before retiring from the U.S. Senate. Baucus received the most donations from individuals and PACs employed by the Lawyers/Law Firms industry.

From 1989-2014, 25.35 percent of Baucus' career contributions came from the top five industries as listed below.[55]

Donation Concentration Metric graphic.png
Max Baucus Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $30,470,947
Total Spent $25,913,653
Former chair of the United States Senate Committee on Finance
Top five industries that contributed to campaign committee
Lawyers/Law Firms$1,876,429
Securities & Investment$1,857,771
Health Professionals$1,294,986
% total in top industry6.16%
% total in top two industries12.25%
% total in top five industries25.35%


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Baucus was a "centrist Democrat" as of July 2014.[56] This was the same rating Baucus received in May 2013.

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[57]

Baucus most often voted with:

Baucus least often voted with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Baucus missed 278 of 12,429 roll call votes from February 1979 to February 2014. This amounts to 2.2 percent, which is worse than the median of 2.0 percent among current senators as of July 2014.[58]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives


The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Baucus paid his congressional staff a total of $2,616,259 in 2011. He ranked 19th on the list of the lowest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranked 54th overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Montana ranked 28th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[59]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Click the link above for the full ratings of all members of Congress.


Baucus ranked 45th in the liberal rankings in 2013.[60]


Baucus ranked 45th in the liberal rankings in 2012.[61]


Baucus ranked 45th in the liberal rankings in 2011.[62]

Voting with party

The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus.


Baucus voted with the Democratic Party 77.8 percent of the time, which ranked 50th among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[63]


Baucus has one son, Zeno, by his first wife, Ann Geracimos. Baucus and Geracimos divorced in 1982.[64] He was married to Wanda Minge from 1984-2009, and married Melodee Hanes in 2011.

2013 worst year

Baucus was named by The Hill as a member of Congress who had one of the worst years in 2013.[65]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Max + Baucus + Montana + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Max Baucus News Feed

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See also

External links

Political Tracker has an article on:
Max Baucus


  1. 1.0 1.1, "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 1st Session," January 29, 2013
  2. ABC News, "Senate Approves Max Baucus as China Ambassador," February 6, 2014
  3. Great Falls Tribune, "125 Montana Newsmakers: Sen. Max Baucus," accessed October 21, 2011
  4. Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress, "Baucus," accessed June 28, 2013
  5. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List" accessed January 18, 2013
  6. Montana: Max Baucus, United States Senator, "Max's Committee Assignments" accessed October 21, 2011
  7. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  8. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  9. Project Vote Smart, "PN 48 - Nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  10. Project Vote Smart, "HR 325 - To Ensure the Complete and Timely Payment of the Obligations of the United States Government Until May 19, 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  11. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  12., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  13. Project Vote Smart, "S Amdt 1197 - Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  14. Politico, "Max Baucus: Delay Obamacare penalties if website still lags," accessed November 1, 2013
  15. Project Vote Smart, "S 47 - Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  16. NPR, "Senate Rejects Expanded Background Checks For Gun Sales," accessed April 19, 2013
  17. Fox News, "Background check plan defeated in Senate, Obama rips gun bill opponents," accessed April 19, 2013
  18. NPR, "Historically Speaking, No Surprise In Senate Gun Control Vote," accessed April 19, 2013
  19. U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  20. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ontheissues
  21. USA Today, "IRS knew of Tea Party profiling in 2011, report shows," accessed May 16, 2013
  22. Politico, "The IRS wants YOU- to share everything," accessed May 16, 2013
  23. Washington Post, "IRS officials in Washington were involved in targeting of conservative groups," accessed May 16, 2013
  24. CNN, "'Angry' Obama announces IRS leader's ouster after conservatives targeted," accessed May 16, 2013
  25. The New York Times, "Treasury Knew of I.R.S. Inquiry in 2012, Official Says," accessed May 17, 2013
  26. Politico, "Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch expand IRS probe," May 20,2013
  27. The Washington Post, "Lois Lerner invokes Fifth Amendment in House hearing on IRS targeting," May 22, 2013
  28. CBS, "IRS official Lois Lerner placed on leave," May 23, 2013
  29. Wall Street Journal, "Lois Lerner, at Center of IRS Investigation, Retires," accessed December 16, 2013
  30., "Bohlinger criticizes Baucus, Tester for early backing of Walsh in U.S. Senate race," accessed November 12, 2013
  31. The Washington Post, "Baucus to retire rather than seek re-election in 2014, strategists say," April 23, 2013
  32. Politico, "Senate backs Max Baucus for China ambassador," February 6, 2014
  33. Seattle pi, "A new Northwest senator, musical chairs in the 'other' Washington," accessed July 22, 2014
  34. Maria Cantwell, United States Senator for Washington, "Cantwell Statement on Small Business Committee Confirmation," accessed July 22, 2014
  35. Politic, "W.H. to nominate Sen. Max Baucus as next ambassador to China," accessed December 19, 2013
  36. Associated Press, "Walsh sworn in as Montana senator, replaces Baucus," accessed July 22, 2014
  37. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  38. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002," accessed March 28, 2013
  39. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1996," accessed March 28, 2013
  40. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1996," accessed March 28, 2013
  41. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 6, 1984," accessed March 28, 2013
  42. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 1978," accessed March 28, 2013
  43. Open Secrets, "Donor history for Max Baucus," April 2013
  44. Federal Election Commission, "Baucus 2014 Summary reports," accessed July 30, 2013
  45. FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed July 30, 2013
  46. FEC, "July Quarterly," accessed July 30, 2013
  47. FEC, "October Quarterly," accessed October 30, 2013
  48. Open Secrets, "Top Recipients of Lobbyists Cash in 2013," accessed July 3, 2013
  49. Open Secrets, "Max Baucus 2008 Election Cycle," accessed October 25, 2011
  50. OpenSecrets, "Baucus, (D-MT), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  51. This figure represents the average annual percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below) to 2012, divided by the number of years calculated.
  52. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  53. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  54. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  55., "Sen. Max Baucus," accessed September 18, 2014
  56. GovTrack, "Max Baucus," accessed July 21, 2014
  57. OpenCongress, "Max Baucus," accessed July 21, 2014
  58. GovTrack, "Max Baucus," accessed July 21, 2014
  59. LegiStorm, "Max Baucus," accessed August 16, 2012
  60. National Journal, "2013 Congressional Vote Ratings," accessed July 21, 2014
  61. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," accessed February 26, 2013
  62. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," accessed February 23, 2012
  63. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  64. Billings Gazette, "New Baucus divorce report emerges," accessed October 21, 2011
  65. The Hill, "Best, worst years in Washington," accessed January 13, 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Gary Locke
U.S. Ambassador to China
Succeeded by
John Walsh
Preceded by
Paul G. Hatfield
United States Senate - Montana
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Richard Shoup
United States House of Representatives - District 1
Succeeded by
John Patrick Williams
Preceded by
Montana House of Representatives
Succeeded by