|Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee|
January 3, 1993 - January 3, 1995
|United States Senator|
January 3, 1977 - January 3, 1995
Dennis Webster DeConcini
May 8, 1937
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
|Education||University of Arizona (BA, LLB)|
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1959-1960 (Acting)|
|Rank||Army Judge Advocate General's Corps|
Dennis Webster DeConcini (; 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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
DeConcini's congressional papers are held at the University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections.
DeConcini served on the board of directors of the Corrections Corporation of America (now known as CoreCivic) from 2008 to 2014. 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.
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.
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.