Dennis Burke: Obama’s Man in Arizona

A m e r i c a n P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona

Friday, March 8, 2010

Coverage you won’t get from the Republic

Who is this US Attorney investigating Arpaio?

The recent news that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has launched a grand jury investigation into Sheriff Joe Arpaio and may also be investigating County Attorney Andrew Thomas has been treated by the media like a legitimate law enforcement exercise by unbiased federal officials. While the mainstream media typically ascribe purer motives to the actions of Democrats, even by the low standards by which people now judge the media, they are ignoring a major story. The elephant, er, donkey in the room is Dennis Burke, the liberal Democrat who President Obama recently appointed to be U.S. Attorney.

So far the media have given Mr. Burke a pass on his highly partisan record. His record would seem important because it wasn’t until the Obama administration took over the Justice Department and replaced the apolitical former U.S. Attorney with Burke that the U.S. Attorney’s Office started looking into Arpaio. The Arizona Republic claims that they are looking at Andrew Thomas too.

The Obama administration obviously has a very different opinion on illegal immigration than Thomas and Arpaio have, as evidenced by Obama’s recent push for amnesty (, and has tried to stop the pair from enforcing laws against illegal immigration. Might this investigation be about shutting down their efforts to combat illegal immigration for good? Might this have anything to do with the fact that the hyper-political Dennis Burke likely harbors political ambitions, and perhaps sees fellow lawyer and law enforcement officer Andrew Thomas as a rival from the other side of the political spectrum?

Since the media has failed to cover this story and thus allow readers to decide for themselves whether the Obama administration’s investigation is about justice or politics, it falls to this blog to answer the key question: Who is Dennis Burke?

Many people here remember Burke as Janet Napolitano’s longtime henchman in the Governor’s Office and Attorney General’s Office, but a bio provided by the Justice Department shows that Burke’s partisan record goes beyond that.

Burke’s first job was as a majority staffer for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks. His tenure there lasted from 1989 until 1994, and it is probably no coincidence that Burke’s time there ended when the Republicans took over Congress. Who was Burke’s boss while serving in this role? None other than liberal Democrat Senator Dennis DeConcini, who used to represent Arizona.

From 1995 when the Democrats lost Congress until 1999, Burke served in a couple different roles in the Clinton Administration. He was a lobbyist for the Clinton Justice Department and even served a three year stint as a White House staffer. During that time Burke also served under former U.S. Attorneys Janet Napolitano and then Jose de Jesus Rivera, himself a liberal activist who recently chaired the campaign of liberal Democrat Tim Nelson for County Attorney.

With Janet Napolitano’s election as Attorney General in 1998, Dennis Burke returned to Arizona to serve as her right hand man, and served as her chief of staff after she was elected Governor.

This looks like a pretty partisan record, but it gets worse once we look at Dennis Burke’s political contributions over the years. All of his contributions to state and federal candidates and political committees over the last twelve years are listed below.


Ed Pastor (Democrat for U.S. House), 12/5/97, $250

10/24/00, $250

Al Gore, 7/22/99, $250

10/24/99, $500

Fred Duval (Democrat for U.S. House), 6/27/01, $500

Mary Ryan Judge, (Democrat for U.S. House), 10/27/01, $500

Sam Martinez, (Democrat for U.S. House), 12/18/2001, $250

Debra Norris (Democrat for U.S. House), 1/14/02, $300

Arizona Democrat Party, 11/4/02, $500

3/17/04, $1,000

10/4/06, $2,000

Paul Babbit (Democrat for U.S. House), 11/17/03, $250

Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1/6/04, $1,000

Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee/e/e, 3/24/04, $250

John Kerry, 6/7/04, $1,000

7/21/04, $1,000

Raul Grijalva (Democrat for U.S. House), 8/31/04, $250

6/2/05, $250

Jim Pederson (Democrat for U.S. Senate), 9/15/05, $1,000

Harry Mitchell (Democrat for U.S. House), 5/15/06, $1,000

Gabby Giffords (Democrat for U.S. House), 10/27/06, $250

6/5/07, $350

7/1/07, $200

11/28/07, $500

Bob Lord (Democrat for U.S. House), 5/18/07, $250

9/17/07, $200

10/1/08, $300

10/28/08, $250

Ann Kirkpatrick (Democrat for U.S. House), 3/28/08, $500

Jared Polis (Democrat for U.S. House, Colorado), 6/17/08, $250


* to verify these numbers, go to, plug in Dennis Burke, Arizona


Janet Napolitano (Democrat for Arizona Attorney General), 11/4/97, $760

9/14/98, $100

Chris Cummiskey (Democrat for Arizona Senate), 8/30/00, $256

Nucleus Club (Liberal Democrat group), 12/11/00, $20

2/7/01, $300

12/2/01, $140

2/12/02, $275

2/17/03, $275

4/5/05, $275

3/20/06, $275

1/23/07, $330

1/21/08, $330

4/21/08, $40

Maricopa County Democrat Party, 6/20/01, $25

7/22/04, $500

2/23/06, $500

4/21/08, $1,000

Gabby Giffords (Democrat for Arizona Senate), 10/15/01, $200

Wally Straughn (Democrat for Arizona House), 11/7/01, $110

Christine Weason (Democrat for Arizona House), 11/30/01, $110

Peter Moraga (Democrat for Arizona House), 12/14/01, $200

Phil Amorosi (Democrat for Arizona House), 1/23/02, $110

Rod Rich (Democrat for Arizona School Superintendent), 2/23/02, $110

Jesse George (Democrat for Arizona House), 3/19/02, $110

Shirley McAllister (Democrat for Arizona House), 5/1/02, $110

Ted Murphree (Democrat for Arizona House), 8/7/02, $110

West Democrat Headquarters, 1/24/02, $240

3/27/08, $100

Foothills Democrats, 3/15/03, $45

3/12/04, $48

Arizona Democrat Party, 8/8/03, $1,000

Catalina Democrats, 8/24/03, $150

Phil Lopes (Democrat for Arizona House), 10/29/05, $60

Young Democrats of Arizona, 5/2/05, $500

Rebecca Rios (Democrat for Arizona Senate), 7/3/06, $120

Jason Williams (Democrat for Arizona School Superintendent), 10/14/06, $150

District 11 Democrats, 2002, $674 (total from numerous contributions)

2003 and 2004, $740 (total from numerous contributions)

1/11/05, $10

1/19/05, $40

1/9/07, $20

5/8/07, $10

1/8/08, $20

Robert Meza, (Democrat for Arizona House), 9/19/07, $200

9/24/08, $190

Pima County Democrat Party, 10/13/08, $500

Total= $12,398

** to verify these numbers go to and plug in Dennis Burke. Unfortunately it must be plugged in for every general election to get the full report.

All told, that’s over $30,000 in the last twelve years to Democrat candidates and groups, and not one penny to Republicans.

These contribution records are especially stunning when one looks at the contributions of the two U.S. Attorneys who were appointed by President Bush. Diane Humetawa, who Burke replaced, did not give any money to federal or state candidates. Paul Charlton gave some money, but his giving was a fraction of Burke’s and was mixed-he gave money to Democrats such as Terry Goddard and Gabby Giffords.

Somehow I doubt that if a political appointee with a partisan record as a Republican were looking into a popular local Democrat with a grand jury probe he would enjoy the same media presumption of objectivity and proper motives.

As the U.S. Attorney’s Office moves forward with its probe it will be important to view it through the proper lens. Despite the false veneer of objectivity that the Republic and other liberal media sources will try to give it, in reality it’s nothing but a witch hunt by the Obama administration led by a handpicked appointee of President Obama with a record of extreme partisanship.

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  1. I don’t know anyone who reads the Republic anymore, I get all my news online from sites like this and from TV/radio. I didn’t even realize there was a federal investigation of Arpaio until I read it here, and from what I can tell, the feds are investigating the Supervisors finally so it’s a good thing. I wouldn’t want to read how the Republic is spinning it

  2. is this a surprise to anyone? I think everyone knew this already anyway…

    Of course he gives to Democrats, of course the GOP kicked him out of his job when they took power. Politics is partisan, you reward people that are loyal to you with certain jobs. THIS IS POLITICS. Shocker Alert CONSERVATIVES DO IT TOO. Wasn’t it the Bush DOJ that got in trouble for politicizing these EXACT JOBS.

    I dont know why this is even a guest opinion it doesn’t tell you anything new.

  3. First Year Law Student says

    er yeah it’s a surprise, I’m a diehard Republican and I haven’t given anywhere near that amount of money to Republican candidates. This guy is an extreme partisan activist. No wonder Obama appointed him. I feel sorry for Sheriff Arpaio, he won’t get a fair shake from someone like that.

  4. johnny,

    Please don’t question the veracity of a post by an anonymous author as a guest editor from a biased blog posing as a fake newspaper column. Just play along.

  5. Travis,

    While I appreciate the comment I don’t go as far as you. I understand where DSW he is very open and let’s people like you and I who don’t agree with him on everything post. This is all I can ask for.

  6. I seem to have forgotten some words… I mean I understand where DSW is coming from in this blog.

    Also first year law student,

    If you are in law schools odds are you are between 23-30 so of course you have nt given as much. Burke is a tad bit older and has made more money in his career than you.

  7. When Ken Star was investigating Bill Clinton I remember the media making a BIG deal about Star’s Republican credentials

    This looks like the same issue to me, but when it is a democrat in the role of investigator the media doesn’t question their motivations

  8. What a difference a party can make. If you are a Democrat and muster $30K for the benefit of their party over 12 years you get a presidential appointment.
    If you are a Republican and you muster $40K during just 2 election cycles the Wack-a-doodles call you a RINO, and try to stone you or tie you to a rail and ship you out of town.

  9. First Year Law Student says

    johnny, I think Dennis Burke is about 45 years old – my age

  10. First year law student,

    So you are a 1L at 45? Just curious as someone who went straight after undergrad to law school, what made you decide so much later?

    Also Burke was born in 1962 so couple years older than 45.

  11. First Year Law Student says

    Why don’t you ask Greg Patterson? He went to law school about the same age as I did, and he has no problem expressing explaining publicly why. My reasons were somewhat similar to his.

  12. I could ask him… but I asked you… you can just say you dont want to tell me. No need to pawn it off on Greg.

  13. James Davidson says

    Gee whiz. So Dennis Burke is a liberal Democrat who used to work for Big Sis, whom RINO Joe got into the Governor’s chair.

    Maybe if RINO Joe had not betrayed us conservative Republicans and put Big Sis in the Governor’s chair in 2002, Burke would be just one more liberal Democrat wannabe. But since RINO Joe put Big Sis in the Governor’s chair, she was able to put Burke in the US Attorney’s chair.

    If RINO Joe had not betrayed the rest of us in 2002, Matt Salmon would have been Governor, Big Sis would have gone back to law practice, and Dennis Burke never would have left it.

    RINO Joe made his bed. Let him sleep in it.

    It’s hard to feel sorry for a turncoat.

  14. James:

    I hate to kick over your hobby horse but Matt Salmon beat Matt Salmon in 2002. He didn’t need assistance.

    Unfortunately, we haven’t had a Republican candidate for Governor run a competent campaign for at least 18 years!


    If you continually spend your money on Republicans who govern like Democrats and share their ideology and social beliefs you’d better expect opposition within the party as you’re getting this time around.

    Travis: In your case an open mind, turns into an open mouth with little of substance coming from it. Vapid blatherings regarding those with whom you disagree instead of principled criticism indicates a basic lack of intellectual depth!

    If you don’t like the political or philosophical stances of the blog’s contributors, by all means, you should start your own. Horst will fork over the finances!

    “How ’bout ‘Rinos n’ Hacks United”?

    As for the matter at hand regarding the Fed Atty for Arizona, this should come as no surprise to anyone!

    Joe and Andy have alienated a goodly portion of both Democrat and Republican establishments for having the temerity to enforce immigration laws.
    Ah, the HORROR of it all!

    Why, if not brought to heal, they just might preclude the Dems from getting these folks on the registration and welfare rolls and prevent another California.

    And damn, they might force our Hoteliers, Restaurant Owners, Developers, and Burger Barons to employ genuine Arizonan citizens, and ugh, pay them living wages!

    Jeeez! We might even have to extend benefits to them and not let the taxpayers pick up the slack and furthermore Joe and Andy, if left to their own devices, will close off another source of wages for our help by denying them the privelege of “muling” for the coyotes who brought them here!

    No, Joe and Andy must go….And let Arizona be Arizona!

    Yeah! That’s the ticket!

  15. James Davidson says


    Did Salmon beat Salmon? Maybe, but that’s not how I see it. Big Sis could not win if she showed her true colors as a liberal Democrat, so she faked it and claimed to be a centrist. The newspaper’s echo chamber picked it up and she got a transplant from liberal to centrist. RINO Joe’s endorsement and commercial for her validated the phony transplant. She won by 11,000 votes and change, out of more than a million cast. That’s about a tenth of a percent, and it took three weeks to find out who won.

    Could she have won without RINO Joe’s support? We can never know for sure, since it was a road not taken. My opinion is that she would have lost. You see it differently. Okay, we disagree.

    What we do know, however, is that RINO Joe wanted her to win and campaigned for her to win. So he got his way, to the vast disappoitnment of us conservatives.

    So she got Burke appointed, and she dropped RINO Joe like a hot potato.

    As I wrote before, he made his bed. Let him sleep in it.

  16. “So far the media have given Mr. Burke a pass on his highly partisan record. His record would seem important because it wasn’t until the Obama administration took over the Justice Department and replaced the apolitical former U.S. Attorney with Burke that the U.S. Attorney’s Office started looking into Arpaio.”

    LOL! The FBI investigation of Arpaio started under Bush!

  17. VSB: Actually, Joe received I.C.E. training for his deputies under Bush.

    But that being said, Bush’s policies regarding the rule of law in immigration matters duplicates Obama’s, Nappy’s and that of the Maricopa County B.O.S. which is bound and determined to have a sanctuary entity to match that of the cities.

    Mr. Davidson: Matt Salmon made the critical strategic mistake of refusing to a run clean election campaign. He had a very difficult time trying to raise money from the usual sources, and as a result didn’t get his message across until October.

    On the other hand, Napolitano’s folks initiated a massive T.V. blitz in August and September pilloring Salmon on his Social Security votes. He was never able to effectively respond due to cash shortages and the retiree community vote went up for grabs!

    Matt entered August with a 10% lead in the polls and by early October was down about the same percentage.

    Another factor was the reservation vote. In an attempt to solidify a wary “religious right” crowd, Salmon campaigned to renegotiate Indian Gaming rights and put the issue back to the square one of 1992. All that did was stir up a hornet’s nest and guarantee the largest reservation turnout in modern AZ politics.

    In fairness, Salmon wasn’t the only GOPPER to committ suicide over this issue. Steve Largent turned what should have been a pushover to the Oklahoma Statehouse into a defeat that year!

    Beleive me, our guys don’t need others to screw them over.

    We’re not referred to as “The Stupid Party” for nothing!

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