Dennis Burke, one of former Governor Janet Napolitano's chiefs of staff, has been confirmed as the next U.S. Attorney in Arizona.
Burke's ultra-qualified for the job. He's a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Arizona, worked as counsel under former Arizona U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini, is a former chief deputy in the state Attorney General's Office and a senior adviser to Napolitano, the new U.S. Homeland Security secretary. He can also whip up a loaf of banana bread, if needed.
For a while, the Democrat was reportedly considering a run for Arizona AG in 2010, a post Republican Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas is eying,
The politics of this Obama appointment should be interesting, The Justice Department is already investigating Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
Burke told the Capitol Times in July that his priority would be border issues.
Burke's immediate predecessor is John Tucci, who served as interim U.S. Attorney for a few weeks. But he's really replacing Diane Humetewa, the Bush-appointed prosecutor who seemed to do next to nothing after she took the seat of Paul Charlton, one of several U.S. Attorneys fired in a shameful political plot.
Scroll down for the news release by the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office:
DENNIS K. BURKE CONFIRMED AS UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
Senate votes and unanimously confirms Burke
PHOENIX - The U.S. Senate voted today and with unanimous consent, confirmed Dennis K. Burke as the United States Attorney for the District of Arizona. Burke will be officially sworn in by a U.S. District Court Judge as early as this week.
Burke, who most recently held the position of Senior Advisor to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, will lead one of the largest U.S. Attorney's Offices in the country. The office currently employs approximately 300 personnel in four locations (Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff and Yuma) and serves more than 8 million residents throughout the entire state of Arizona, including the residents on all 22 Indian nations.
"I am extremely honored to serve in this capacity," Burke said after the confirmation vote. "The U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Arizona prosecutes one of the highest and most diverse case loads in the nation. I look forward to working with the extremely professional attorneys and staff, as well as with the professional law enforcement agencies throughout Arizona."
President Barack Obama nominated Burke in July 2009. Burke succeeds John J. Tuchi who was appointed as Interim U.S. Attorney on August 3, 2009.
From 2003 to 2008, Burke served as then Governor Napolitano's Chief of Staff. From 1999 to 2003, he worked in the Arizona Attorney General's Office. From 1997 to 1999, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Arizona, prosecuting drug trafficking cases in the Organized Crime and Drug Task Force (OCEDTF) unit. While at the U.S. Attorney's Office, Burke was detailed to the Department of Justice where he served for five months as Acting Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs. Prior to that, he held a number of positions in the federal government, including the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Department of Justice, and the White House.
After law school, Burke was a clerk for the Honorable James Moeller on the Arizona Supreme Court. He graduated from Georgetown University in 1985 and received a law degree in 1988 from University of Arizona, College of Law in Tucson. Burke was also an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. In 2008, Burke was honored in Phoenix by Chicanos Por La Causa who awarded him with their Public Advocate Award.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.