Biden names Anchorage attorney to serve as U.S. attorney for Alaska

S. Lane Tucker has been nominated to serve as the top federal law enforcement officer in Alaska, the White House announced Wednesday.

The position has been filled temporarily by career federal attorney John Kuhn since late December. Before that, the position was filled by an assistant U.S. attorney.

Tucker has been a partner since 2010 in the Anchorage office of Stoel Rives LLP, a business law firm headquartered in Oregon. Her expertise is in white-collar prosecution and defense, federal government contracts including those involving Alaska Native corporations, Small Business Administration matters and construction litigation, according to the firm’s website.

Before transitioning to private practice, Tucker worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska from 2002 to 2006, first as an assistant U.S. attorney and then as the civil chief.

Before that, she served as a trial attorney in the civil division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

Jessica Graham, a longtime Anchorage attorney who is a friend of Tucker, said her experience in both the private sector and the U.S. Attorney’s Office gives her “the right level of empathy” for the role.

“The resources of the government are sort of infinite when it comes to prosecutions,” Graham said. “So I think it’s very helpful for someone who has that sort of power and resources to have the perspective of everyone in the community on all sides.”

Jim Torgerson, a fellow partner in the Anchorage office of Stoel Rives LLP, said Tucker would be “very focused on addressing the law enforcement responsibilities of the office.”

Bryan Schroder, Alaska’s former U.S. attorney, said Tucker’s prior experience in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alaska and at the Department of Justice “will pay great dividends.”

“Violent crime remains an issue in Alaska, and particularly in Anchorage, so Ms. Tucker will certainly be confronted with that vexing problem,” Schroder said in an email.

Tucker has lived in Alaska since 2002 and serves on the board of the Alaska Community Foundation. She has held several positions in professional associations in the state.

The White House said Tucker and five nominees for other states were “chosen for their devotion to enforcing the law, their professionalism, their experience and credentials in this field, their dedication to pursuing equal justice for all, and their commitment to the independence of the Department of Justice.”

The appointments are subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

“I’m honored to have been nominated to be the United States Attorney for Alaska and look forward to the confirmation process,” Tucker said when reached by email Wednesday.

U.S. attorneys are typically nominated by the president with input from U.S. senators from the state. Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski were either unavailable or did not respond to requests for comment on Tucker’s nomination.

Graham said she doesn’t think of Tucker as “inherently political,” but Tucker does have a history of donating to Democratic political candidates in a variety of races.

From 2013 to 2016, Tucker donated a total of $12,250 to mostly Democrats, according to Federal Election Commission data. All but $250 of that went to support Democratic candidates and the Democratic National Committee. The remaining $250 went to support Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s 2016 reelection campaign.

In local races, she donated to former Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s 2015 mayoral campaign and to Forrest Dunbar’s 2021 mayoral campaign. Municipal races are nonpartisan but both candidates had previously run as Democrats in other races.

President Joe Biden asked for the resignation of Schroder in February last year. He was replaced on an interim basis by Bryan Wilson, Alaska’s first assistant U.S. attorney.

Iris Samuels

Iris Samuels is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News focusing on state politics. She previously covered Montana for The Associated Press and wrote for the Kodiak Daily Mirror.