Max Baucus Will Give You Tax Cuts, for a Price

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I'm a lawyer, I have not threatened you. Photo: YURI GRIPAS/2011 AFP

Jon Tester is a Democratic Senator from Montana facing a stiff reelection challenge this November. His fellow Democratic Senator from Montana, Max Baucus, also happens to be the Senate Finance Committee Chairman. Baucus is worried that, if Tester loses, he’ll be next. So, report Anna Palmer and Robin Bravender, pro-Baucus lobbyists are spreading the word around K Street that rich business interests better think twice before they contribute to his opponent:

The case K-Streeters are making to their clients: It will be a hard sell next year to get Baucus’s support on business-friendly tax perks set to expire or the Bush-era tax cuts that must get through his committee.

This is one of those things that doesn’t fill you with confidence in Baucus’s capacity to render fair judgments about public policy. Baucus was a major force in the passage of the 2001 Bush tax cuts, negotiating with Republicans in secret for weeks before announcing his support for a plan that wrecked the fiscal position of the government after the two previous presidents had so carefully repaired it.

Sometime around next December, Baucus will be announcing his support for new tax cuts while patting himself on the back for his bipartisanship and moderation. It’s worth keeping in mind that it will just be the second half of a political bribery transaction.