His resume sparkles - but is he lawyerly and Alaskan enough?

Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Alaska's new attorney general has an impressive resume with senior staff positions in the administration of President George W. Bush, but appears to have little actual experience practicing law.

Daniel S. Sullivan is Gov. Sarah Palin's third pick to be attorney general since becoming governor in 2006. In announcing the appointment, Palin praised Sullivan's "strong Alaska legal background and public service record in the state."

Sullivan became a member of the Alaska bar in 2000, after having clerked for two top judges in the state. He practiced corporate law and commercial litigation with the Anchorage law firm Perkins Coie until July 2002, when he left for Washington, D.C., to serve as a director of the National Security Council and the National Economic Council of the White House.

Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, said she talked with Sullivan on Tuesday and was impressed with his qualifications and not concerned that Sullivan hasn't been in Alaska recently.

"That doesn't bother me," she said. "You've got a lot of Alaskans working Outside at least temporarily," she said.

Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said she was unsure if Sullivan was currently an Alaska resident and referred questions about his residency to him. Sullivan was unavailable for comment Tuesday but appears to have lived in Maryland from 2002 until about the end of the Bush administration, based on property records, phone listings and job history.

Sullivan was an assistant secretary of state until recently, managing a staff of 200 in the State Department's Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs, and is a Marine Corps infantry and reconnaissance officer.

Leighow said Sullivan has owned a house in Alaska since 2000. He also appears to have maintained an Alaska voter registration since then, voting absentee from Maryland.

Sullivan, 44, is married Julie Fate Sullivan, daughter of former state Rep. Bud Fate, R-Fairbanks. They've been married 15 years and have three daughters.

Sullivan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in economics. He earned his juris doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center, and has been a member of the Alaska Bar Association since 2000.

In 2002, he became a director on the National Security Council and National Economic Council of the White House. In 2006 he was confirmed as an assistant secretary of state for economic, energy and business affairs.

Sullivan's references include a number of notable names in the national and international arenas, including World Bank President Robert Zoellick, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, former White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolton and Gen. John Abizaid, former commander of U.S. Central Command.

• The Associated Press contributed to this story.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.

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