Dennis DeConcini

Last updated
Dennis DeConcini
Dennis DeConcini.jpg
Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee
In office
January 3, 1993 January 3, 1995
Preceded by David Boren
Succeeded by Arlen Specter
United States Senator
from Arizona
In office
January 3, 1977 January 3, 1995
Preceded by Paul Fannin
Succeeded by Jon Kyl
Personal details
Dennis Webster DeConcini

(1937-05-08) May 8, 1937 (age 82)
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Education University of Arizona (BA, LLB)
Website Official website
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Branch/serviceFlag of the United States Army.svg  United States Army
Years of service1959–1960 (Acting)
1960–1967 (Reserve)
Rank Army Judge Advocate General's Corps
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Dennis Webster DeConcini /ˌdkənˈsni/ (born May 8, 1937) is an American lawyer, philanthropist, politician and former Democratic U.S. Senator from Arizona. The son of former Arizona Supreme Court Judge Evo Anton DeConcini, he represented Arizona in the United States Senate from 1977 until 1995. After his re-election in 1988, no Arizona Democrats were elected to the United States Senate for 30 years until Kyrsten Sinema in 2018.

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress which, along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C.

Arizona U.S. state in the United States

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

Evo Anton DeConcini was Attorney General of Arizona, and a Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court from 1949 to 1953.


Background information

DeConcini was born in Tucson, Arizona, the son of Ora (née Webster) and Evo Anton DeConcini. [1]

His father was Judge on the Arizona State Superior Court for 10 years, then served as the Arizona Attorney General for one two-year term from 1948-49 before being appointed to the Arizona State Supreme Court where he served as a Judge for four years from 1949–53. DeConcini received his bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona in 1959, and his LLB from the University of Arizona in 1963. He then worked as a lawyer for the Arizona Governor's staff from 1965-67. Dennis DeConcini rejoined the law firm of DeConcini McDonald Yetwin and Lacy, which he and his father had co-founded in 1968, after leaving the Senate in 1995. [2] [3]

Arizona Attorney General attorney general for the U.S. state of Arizona

The Arizona Attorney General is the chief legal officer of the state of Arizona, in the United States. This state officer is the head of the Arizona Department of Law, more commonly known as the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. The state attorney general is a constitutionally-established officer, elected by the people of the state to a four-year term. The state attorney general is second in the line of succession to the office of Governor of Arizona.

University of Arizona Public university in Tucson, Arizona, United States

The University of Arizona is a public research university in Tucson, Arizona. Founded in 1885, the UA was the first university in the Arizona Territory. As of 2017, the university enrolls 44,831 students in 19 separate colleges/schools, including the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix and the James E. Rogers College of Law, and is affiliated with two academic medical centers. The University of Arizona is governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. The University of Arizona is one of the elected members of the Association of American Universities and is the only representative from the state of Arizona to this group.

He is a member of the advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. [4]

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is a non-profit educational organization in the United States, authorized by a unanimous Act of Congress in 1993 for the purpose of educating Americans about the ideology, history and legacy of communism. The foundation was responsible for building the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is a member of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience.

Political career

DeConcini served one elected term as Pima County, Arizona Attorney (1973–1976), the chief prosecutor and civil attorney for the county and school districts within the county. [3]

Pima County, Arizona U.S. county in Arizona

Pima County is a county in the south central region of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, the population was 980,263, making it Arizona's second-most populous county. The county seat is Tucson, where nearly all of the population is centered. The county is named after the Pima Native Americans who are indigenous to this area.

He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976 as a Democrat, defeated Republican Representative Sam Steiger for the open seat left by retiring Republican Senator Paul Fannin. DeConcini served three terms (1976-1994) in the Senate.

Democratic Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its rival, the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

Republican Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.

Sam Steiger American politician

Samuel Steiger was an American politician, journalist, political pundit. He served five terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, two terms in the Arizona State Senate, and one term as mayor of Prescott, Arizona. Steiger also made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate, served as a special assistant to Arizona Governor Evan Mecham, and hosted political talk shows on both radio and television. Despite these accomplishments, Steiger is best known for two incidents: The first, while he was a sitting Congressman, was the 1975 killing of two burros. The second was painting a crosswalk between Prescott's courthouse and nearby Whiskey Row.

Panama Canal

DeConcini sponsored an amendment (the DeConcini Reservation) to the Panama Canal Treaty of 1977 which allows the United States "to take such steps as each [the U.S. or Panama] deems necessary, in accordance with its constitutional processes, including the use of military force in the Republic of Panama, to reopen the Canal or restore the operations of the Canal, as the case may be."

Keating Five

DeConcini was widely noted as a member of the Keating Five in a banking and political contribution ethics investigation during the 1980s which grew out of the U.S. Savings and Loan Crisis. The Senate investigation involved Charles Keating and Lincoln Savings/Continental Homes, the sixth largest employer in the state of Arizona at the time. The Senate Ethics Committee looked into the actions of five United States Senators in relation to their actions connected with Charles Keating and concluded that Senators DeConcini, McCain, Glenn and Riegle "broke no laws or Senate ethics rules, but were aggressive in their actions on behalf of Charles Keating." DeConcini did not run for a fourth term.

Senate committees

Portrait of U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini Dennis DeConcini, official portrait.jpg
Portrait of U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini

In the 101st Congress, DeConcini served on the Senate Appropriations Committee, chairing the Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service and General Government. He also served on the Subcommittees on Defense, Energy and Water Development and Foreign Operations, and on the Senate Judiciary Committee, chairing the Subcommittee on Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks. He served on the Subcommittees on Antitrust, Monopolies and Business Rights, the Constitution and the Courts. [5]

In 1993 and 1994, DeConcini chaired the Select Intelligence Committee. [6] [7]


In February 1995 DeConcini was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), where he served until May 1999. [8] [9] [10]

In 2006, he and former Del E. Webb Construction Company President Anne Mariucci were selected by Governor of Arizona Janet Napolitano to sit on the Arizona Board of Regents. [11]

Congressional papers

DeConcini's congressional papers are held at the University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections.

Business career

DeConcini served on the board of directors of the Corrections Corporation of America (now known as CoreCivic) from 2008 to 2014. [12] Starting in 2010, some individuals protested his membership on the board, saying his involvement is "not suitable for a public figure like DeConcini." Although he claims he has not lobbied for harsher immigration laws and sentencing practices, he admits meetings with the Arizona Department of Corrections Director Chuck Ryan and "publicly speaking in favor of" for-profit prisons. [13] [14] [15]

It was alleged that, in 1979, DeConcini had insider knowledge about the proposed route of the Central Arizona Project and that he used this knowledge to purchase land that he resold six years later to the federal government for a gain of almost $1,000,000. [16] [17]


Dennis DeConcini (top row, far right) with the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children. ICMEC Board.jpg
Dennis DeConcini (top row, far right) with the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children.

DeConcini is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), a global nonprofit organization that combats child sexual exploitation, child pornography, and child abduction. [18]


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  1. United States Code Congressional and Administrative News. 2007-01-04. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  2. Krueger, Cindy (2013-05-24). "Tucson-based law firm celebrates 45 years of service". Inside Tucson Business. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  3. 1 2 UA Alumni Association (2017-04-17). "Dennis DeConcini to Receive UA Veterans Award". UA News. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  4. "National Advisory Council". Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on 2011-05-22. Retrieved 2011-05-20.
  5. "SENATE COMMITTEES, 101st CONGRESS". CQ Weekly: 3476–89. 1989-12-23.
  6. "1993 COMMITTEES SPECIAL REPORT: SENATE -- Select Intelligence". CQ Weekly: 43. 1993-05-01.
  7. "1994 COMMITTEE SUPPLEMENT: Senate Select Intelligence". CQ Weekly: 44. 1994-03-05.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-11-15. Retrieved 2008-02-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-11. Retrieved 2009-04-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-13. Retrieved 2009-04-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. "Governor appoints DeConcini, Mariucci to Board of Regents", Northern Arizona University News
  12. "Three CCA directors set to step down". The Nashville Post. April 4, 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  13. Hodai, Beau (June 21, 2010). "Ties That Bind: Arizona Politicians and the Private Prison Industry". In These Times. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  14. Cook, Nancy (June 30, 2010). "How the Recession Hurts Private Prisons". Newsweek. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  15. Herraras, Mari (March 29, 2012). "Morals Before Profit". Tucson Weekly. Retrieved December 4, 2012.
  16. "DeConcini bought CAP land after planning began", The Prescott Courier, October 21, 1988, page 11 (via Google news); retrieved July 10, 2017.
  17. Arizona Republic, September 18, 1993, page 8.
  18. "ICMEC Board Members". Archived from the original on 2015-07-03.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Sam Grossman
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Arizona
(Class 1)

1976, 1982, 1988
Succeeded by
Sam Coppersmith
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Paul Fannin
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Arizona
Served alongside: Barry Goldwater, John McCain
Succeeded by
Jon Kyl
Preceded by
Steny Hoyer
Chair of the Joint Helsinki Commission
Succeeded by
Steny Hoyer
Chair of the Joint Helsinki Commission
Succeeded by
Chris Smith
Preceded by
David Boren
Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee
Succeeded by
Arlen Specter