Dennis Burke, District of Arizona
By Joe Palazzolo | July 29, 2009 5:11 pm

Dennis K. Burke (Georgetown, University of Arizona Law) is nominated to replace Diane J. Humetewa as U.S. Attorney in the District of Arizona, who steps down on Aug. 2.

Burke has a political background. From 2003 to 2008, he was then-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano’s (D) chief of staff, and he followed her to Washington when she became secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Burke gave $2000 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in January 2008, election records show.

In the 1990s, he worked on Capitol Hill and in the White House, and served brief stints at Main Justice.

His vitals:

  • Born in Chicago in 1962.
  • Is currently Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s senior adviser on border security and law enforcement.
  • Was Napolitano’s chief of staff from 2003 to 2008, when she served governor of Arizona. Was also Napolitano’s chief deputy and a special assistant attorney general during her tenure as state attorney general.
  • Was a member of Barack Obama’s presidential transition team, specializing in homeland security.
  • From 1997 to 1999, was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Arizona, prosecuting drug cases. (He has tried four cases to verdict, one as lead counsel.) He was briefly detailed to Main Justice as acting head of the Office of Legislative Affairs, where he had worked as a special counsel earlier in his career.
  • Was a senior policy analyst in the Clinton White House from 1995 to 1994, working on the Domestic Policy Council.
  • In his first major assignment as lawyer, Burke was majority counsel to the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on patents, copyrights and trademarks from 1989 to 1994. He also worked on the confirmations of three Supreme Court Justices — David Souter, Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  • Has served on the boards of several non-profits, including the Arizona Economic Resource Organization, the Arizona-Mexico Commission, the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and the Center for Law in the Public Interest.
  • Has received accolades from a range of groups, including Arizona Latino Research Enterprise (2008 Exemplary Leadership Award), Equality Arizona (2008 Individual Award) , Planned Parenthood (2007 Public Service Award), Arizona National Guard (2006 Minuteman Award), and the National Association of Police Organizations (1997 Supporter of the Year).
  • In 2004, joined the Phoenix Country Club, which has a history of discrimination on the basis of race, gender, and religion. That was “many years before I became a Member, and it is quite clear no vestiges exist in policy or practice,” Burke wrote in his committee questionnaire. Except for the gender part, that is. The club was embroiled in a controversy over its separate dining facilities for men and women. Burke said he wrote to the club, voicing his objections, and lobbied to have the policy changed. He “submitted his resignation” to the club in 2008, though he said he is still technically a member until someone else buys his share. (The club recently settled a lawsuit filed by the Arizona attorney general, putting an end to separate dining.)
  • Has never held a formal role in a political campaign but he has “volunteered in different capacities for numerous candidates at all levels and assisted in other party activities involving elections.”
  • Lists a net worth of $576,000. He owns two rental properties and an undeveloped plot worth $260,000. And he has about $15,000 tied up in securities.

Click here for his full questionnaire.

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One Comment

  1. Barbara Pierce says:

    Dear US Attorney Burke: Sheriff Joe does the job the way it should be done. If you have committed a criminal act, count on our Sheriff to do what we elected him to do time and time again. He’s done nothing wrong. He does not coddle the crooks. In some jails and prisons, the prisoners eat better and have better medical care than we do. The Sheriff treats them as criminals.

    Why isn’t ACORN under the same kind of scrutiny? They’ve been seen advising criminal acts on camera. What about the Black Panthers in Philidelphia intimidating voters, also on TV.

    Janet Napolitano didn’t do her job in enforcing the immigration laws while she was govenor here in Arizona and she’s not doing it now in her current appointment.

    I’m 72 years old and am sick and tired of being sick and tired of the good guys being trashed while the bad guys do bad things.

    As long as OUR SHERIFF runs for office, everyone I know will vote for him, especially me.
    Barbara Pierce

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