Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli will leave the third highest-ranking post at the Justice Department in March after nearly three years managing a bustling portfolio that has run the gamut from mortgage abuses and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to stamping out domestic violence in Indian country.
Perrelli, 45, says that he’ll take several months off to spend with his growing family. He and his wife have a five-year-old, a two-year-old, and a pair of twins due in May. “This is the best job I’ll ever have,” Perrelli tells us, “you really couldn’t ask for better.” But, long hours spent overseeing Justice Department units that handle tax, civil rights, environment, antitrust, civil cases and billions of dollars in federal grant programs has taken “an enormous amount of energy and commitment and sacrifice.”
Perrelli says he started working at the Justice Department as a 19-year-old, when he helped write computer programs during his summer breaks. He returned to headquarters during the tenure of President Clinton, and developed a strong interest in public safety and law enforcement in Indian Country. That came full circle in 2009, when Perrelli helped negotiate an end to a decade-long case filed by Native Americans who argued the government had mismanaged their federal trusts. Lately, Perrelli has appeared on Capitol Hill to testify in support of legislation that would improve the response to domestic violence on reservations.