Dennis DeConcini

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Dennis DeConcini
Dennis DeConcini, Goldwater Foundation Trustee.png
Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1995
Preceded byDavid Boren
Succeeded byArlen Specter
United States Senator
from Arizona
In office
January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1995
Preceded byPaul Fannin
Succeeded byJon Kyl
Personal details
Dennis Webster DeConcini

(1937-05-08) May 8, 1937 (age 85)
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of Arizona (BA, LLB)
WebsiteOfficial website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1959–1960 (Acting)
1960–1967 (Reserve)
RankArmy Judge Advocate General's Corps
Battles/warsVietnam 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 won his former seat in 2018.

Background information[edit]

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 to 1949 before being appointed to the Arizona State Supreme Court, where he served as a judge for four years, from 1949 to 1953. 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 to 1967. DeConcini attended The JAG School at the University of Virginia and entered U.S. Army JAG Corps.

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]

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

Political career[edit]

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]

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 in the Senate.

Panama Canal[edit]

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[edit]

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." Specifically, DeConcini was judged to have "acted improperly" and did not run for a fourth term.[5][6]

Senate committees[edit]

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.[7]

In 1993 and 1994, DeConcini chaired the Select Intelligence Committee.[8][9]


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.[10][11][12]

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.[13]

Congressional papers[edit]

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

Business career[edit]

DeConcini served on the board of directors of the Corrections Corporation of America (now known as CoreCivic) from 2008 to 2014.[14] 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.[15][16][17]

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.[18][19]


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.[20]


  • Senator Dennis DeConcini: From the Center of the Aisle by Dennis DeConcini & Jack L. August Jr., (University of Arizona Press February 1, 2006); ISBN 978-0-8165-2569-0


  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. ^ a b 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 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2011-05-20.
  5. ^ Dan Nowicki and Bill Muller, The Republic (September 25, 2018). "John McCain gets into 'a hell of a mess' with the Keating Five scandal".
  6. ^ "Sen. Dennis DeConcini, Former Senator for Arizona".
  7. ^ "SENATE COMMITTEES, 101st CONGRESS". CQ Weekly: 3476–89. 1989-12-23.
  8. ^ "1993 COMMITTEES SPECIAL REPORT: SENATE -- Select Intelligence". CQ Weekly: 43. 1993-05-01.
  9. ^ "1994 COMMITTEE SUPPLEMENT: Senate Select Intelligence". CQ Weekly: 44. 1994-03-05.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-11-15. Retrieved 2008-02-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-11. Retrieved 2009-04-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-13. Retrieved 2009-04-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Governor appoints DeConcini, Mariucci to Board of Regents", Northern Arizona University News
  14. ^ "Three CCA directors set to step down". The Nashville Post. April 4, 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  15. ^ Hodai, Beau (June 21, 2010). "Ties That Bind: Arizona Politicians and the Private Prison Industry". In These Times. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  16. ^ Cook, Nancy (June 30, 2010). "How the Recession Hurts Private Prisons". Newsweek. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  17. ^ Herraras, Mari (March 29, 2012). "Morals Before Profit". Tucson Weekly. Retrieved December 4, 2012.
  18. ^ "DeConcini bought CAP land after planning began", The Prescott Courier, October 21, 1988, page 11 (via Google news); retrieved July 10, 2017.
  19. ^ Arizona Republic, September 18, 1993, page 8.
  20. ^ "ICMEC Board Members". Archived from the original on 2015-07-03.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Arizona
(Class 1)

1976, 1982, 1988
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Arizona
Served alongside: Barry Goldwater, John McCain
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the Joint Helsinki Commission
Succeeded by
Chair of the Joint Helsinki Commission
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Senator Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Senator
Succeeded byas Former US Senator