The Justice Department’s Criminal Division spokeswoman is leaving her high-profile post after four years.
Laura Sweeney is moving back to her home town of Kansas City, Mo. Sweeney, whose last day is Friday, hasn’t announced her plans.
Sweeney gained a reputation as a fierce advocate for the division’s line prosecutors as well as its leadership, including since 2009 Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. She used a sweet-and-sour approach with reporters, alternately being helpful or scolding, as the situation seemed to require.
In her years as Criminal Division spokeswoman, Sweeney handled many difficult public relations situations, including questions about the lack of major financial industry prosecutions, the botched Public Integrity Section prosecution of Sen. Ted Stevens, and more recently, the Republican investigations on Capitol Hill into the failed Fast and Furious gun-tracing operation on the southern border.
She began her career at the department in July 2003 when she served as a paralegal in the Antitrust Division. In September 2004, she began doing public affairs work for the division.
In the summer of 2005, she moved to Chicago and worked at Fleishman-Hillard, a large public relations firm, doing corporate communications. Following that, she came back to Washington as a public relations official at National League of Cities. She took her current position as Criminal Division spokesperson in February 2008.
Sweeney is a 2003 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, with degrees in government and international affairs. It’s not immediately clear who will replace Sweeney, though Alisa Finelli, another spokeswoman for the Criminal Division, remains on the job.