Attorney General Xavier Becerra Announces Executive Hires

Friday, May 5, 2017
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced his new executive hires. The team brings together a wealth of knowledge and experience from their work in federal and state government, non-profits, and the private sector.

Sean McCluskie, Chief Deputy Attorney General.  Sean will serve as the Attorney General’s key advisor and second in command, with the Divisions of Legal Affairs, Law Enforcement, Operations, and Policy, Executive and Technology reporting to him. Sean has more than 20 years of experience in the federal and state government and the private sector.  Over the last 10 years, he worked in Attorney General Becerra’s Congressional leadership and member offices, most recently as Chief of Staff. Sean received his J.D. from George Washington University and his Ph.D. from University of Maryland at College Park.

Amanda Renteria, Chief of the Division of Operations.  Amanda will advise the Attorney General, Chief Deputy, and executive staff on departmental budget, human resources, including labor relations issues, business services, contracts and procurement.  She will also develop policy and strategic planning for the Department.  Amanda was a Chief of Staff in the U.S. Senate and most recently served as the National Political Director for Secretary Hillary Clinton. She has worked for over a decade as an economic policy advisor on legislative issues related to banking, finance, tax, budget, business economic development and labor.  Amanda also has experience as a senior financial analyst in the private sector and a budget analyst in the public sector.  As an employee of the City of San Jose, she worked on operating and capitol budget projects as well as IT initiatives. She received her master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard University and her undergraduate degree from Stanford University.

Laura Stuber, Senior Special Assistant Attorney General.  Laura will serve as a senior legal and policy advisor. She has over 20 years of experience as a senior manager and political strategist in both the legislative and executive branch of the federal government.  She has served as Senior Counsel to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, managing Congressional oversight inquiries regarding the Affordable Care Act and leading multiple complex and high-stakes investigations of major U.S. and international financial institutions.  She has expertise in many areas, including Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions, anti-money laundering, tax havens, shell companies, U.S. tax compliance, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform, Consumer Protection Act, Affordable Care Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Laura holds a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and a Juris Doctor from Drake University Law School.

Eleanor Blume, Special Assistant Attorney General.  Eleanor will serve as a legal and policy advisor on consumer protection, financial markets, and state and local partnerships.  She brings experience working within government agencies and departments identifying and advancing strategic priorities. She has served as a Director at the Department of Defense, overseeing implementation of new regulations to protect military families from abusive lending.  Most recently served as Counsel at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, providing legal and policy guidance on consumer protection matters.  Eleanor received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Wellesley College, graduating cum laude, and holds a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

Jonathan “Jon” Blazer, Special Assistant Attorney General.  Jon will serve as a legal and policy advisor on immigration. Jon recently served as Advocacy and Policy Counsel for immigrants’ rights at the American Civil Liberties Foundation (ACLU).  Prior to joining ACLU, Jon worked with the National Immigration Law Center as a Policy Attorney and Project Manager.  He was a national coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee’s immigrant rights initiative.  Jon graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with an A.B. in Politics and holds a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto and a Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School.  

Melanie Fontes Rainer, Special Assistant Attorney General.  Melanie will serve as a legal and policy advisor on health care.  Melanie most recently served as Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and as Counsel to the Congressional Budget Committee. In those capacities, she led areas pertaining to women’s health and rights, gender-based violence, and the Affordable Care Act.  Prior to that, she served as Chief of Staff at the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office in Washington D.C. She has a B.S. B.A. in Economics from the University of Arizona, a master’s degree in Education from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law.

Kelli Evans, Special Assistant Attorney General.  Kelli will serve as a legal and policy advisor on criminal justice reform, public safety policy, and civil rights. She is a highly experienced attorney and senior manager with more than two decades of experience working to promote equality, public safety, and access to justice across a wide range of intersectional issues. Kelli most recently served as Senior Director leading access to justice work for the State Bar of California.  Last year, she was awarded a special State Bar of California President’s Award for her work to fund legal services for people who cannot afford legal representation.  Prior to joining the State Bar, Kelli worked as the Associate Director at ACLU of Northern California, supervising and managing the interdisciplinary civil liberties and civil rights policy and program work.  Before joining the ACLU, she was in private practice; and as part of her practice, she served as a federal court monitor working to ensure that a local police department implemented structural changes to support constitutional policy. Kelli holds a Juris Doctor from U.C. Davis School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.

David Zonana, Special Assistant Attorney General. David will serve as a legal and policy advisor on environmental law.  He is currently a Supervising Deputy Attorney General and brings almost fourteen years of DOJ experience, having worked in the Consumer and Environment sections and the Energy Task Force.  He has participated on many cross-divisional teams, leading the team defending the Air Resources Board’s cap and trade regulation, serving as the lead deputy in the investigation of AT&T and Comcast for unlawful disposal of hazardous waste and working on the Volkswagen investigation.  In 2014, David was the recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence.  Before joining the Department, he served in private practice handling a wide range of litigation and taught history at the Browning School in New York.   He graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College with an B.A. in Economics and History, and cum laude from New York University School of Law with a Juris Doctor.

Alejandro Pérez, Special Assistant to the Attorney General, Office of Federal Affairs.  Alejandro will serve as Director of Federal Affairs, based in Washington, DC.  He is responsible for monitoring federal policy priorities and reporting developments to policy staff.  Alejandro is a seasoned government-relations professional with over 17 years of experience working with the U.S. Congress, including seven years as a senior official at the White House. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas-Austin and a master’s degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Sirat Attapit, Director, Office of Legislative Affairs. Sirat will serve as a high-level policy advisor in the development and advocacy of legislation. Sirat has a strong record of leadership and accomplishment as a manager and as a policy and legal expert. She has over 12 years of experience working in the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and think tank overseeing a wide range portfolio of issues. Most recently, she served as Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, where she worked on Social Security, anti-poverty programs, and child welfare policy. She also served as Senior Policy Counsel to the U.S. House Democratic Caucus during the Attorney General’s time as Chairman. Sirat holds a Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration from the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law and Stuart School of Business, respectively, as well as a bachelor’s from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Bethany Lesser, Communications Director.  Bethany will serve as an advisor on all policy matters related to the media and serve as the chief spokesperson for the Department.  She will oversee the Communications team, which will be housed in Sacramento and Los Angeles.  Bethany has more than 15 years of communications experience handling sensitive and high-profile issues.  Most recently, she served as a presidential appointee in the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).  Prior to that, Bethany was Communications Director for U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, where she developed and implemented a statewide and national media strategy. She successfully led communications for Mark Begich’s Coordinated Campaign for U.S. Senate, and served as press secretary for U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer.  Bethany holds a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany, where she graduated cum laude, and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy.

Chris Moyer, Deputy Communications Director.  Chris most recently served as the Senior Director of Public Affairs at the American Gaming Association, where he oversaw communications to media, membership, and elected officials.  Chris brings with him a wealth of experience on political campaigns, including a stint as Regional Press Secretary for Hillary for America in Ohio. He also served as Press Secretary to Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina, where he built relationships with key reporters in English and Spanish, and a Deputy Nevada Press Secretary for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  Chris holds a bachelor’s in communications from Boston University.

Patricia Moscoso, Executive Speechwriter.  Patricia comes to our team from the U.S. Department of Labor, where she served as Director of Speechwriting for U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.  In that capacity, she was responsible for all written materials for Secretary Perez – including speeches, opinion editorials, blog posts, congressional testimony, social media content and newsletter entries – and translated many of these items into Spanish.  Prior to that, Patricia served in the White House as a legislative assistant and assistant to the House Liaison, where she managed the day-to-day operations and worked closely with members of congress, senior congressional staff and executive branch officials.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, where she graduated with honors.

Liz Saldivar, Director of External Affairs.  Liz will coordinate and direct the department’s Southern California liaison program, representing the office in meeting with public officials.  Liz worked as director of Attorney General Becerra’s Los Angeles congressional district office, where she forged strategic partnerships with community leaders, non-profit organizations, business groups, labor unions and local, state and federal leaders on public policy issues.  Liz received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UCLA.  Liz will be housed in our Los Angeles legal office.

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