Steven Kent Mullins
Steven Kent Mullins was appointed January 9, 2006, in a recess appointment by President George W. Bush to be United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota, vice James E. McMahon who left early in 2005 to return to private practice. 
Interim Appointment Controversy
It would appear that Mullins' recess appointment was an attempt by President Bush "to clear up a dispute between several South Dakota judges." 
On December 22, 2005, Steven K. Mullins was appointed as interim United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota to "serve under an Attorney General Appointment for 120 days." Mullins was appointed to the position by the U.S. Department of Justice but "three federal judges in South Dakota [said] a judge from [South Dakota] - not the Justice Department - should name the interim U.S. attorney." 
Michelle G. Tapken, whom Mullins succeeded, was "another interim attorney" whose term expired December 24, 2005. Tapken returned "to her position as the First Assistant United States Attorney in the District of South Dakota" and the Justice Department "immediately swore in Mullins for the job." 
According to his interim appointment profile, "Mullins began his career as a federal prosecutor in 1984 and has extensive experience as a government attorney in both civil and criminal matters. Mullins has held a number of senior-level and management positions within the Department of Justice, including General Counsel for the Executive Office of United States Attorneys, as well as Senior Litigation Counsel and Executive Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of Oklahoma. Mullins also served as the Press Officer and Spokesperson for the Oklahoma City bombing trial at the Western District of Oklahoma United States Attorney’s Office.
"In addition to his professional duties, Mullins has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma School of Law, where he taught courses in trial advocacy, civil procedure, and remedies.
"Mullins received a B.S. degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1975, and then served as an Infantry Officer in the United States Army from October 1975 until October 1979. He attended law school at the University of Oklahoma School of Law, and received a J.D. in 1982. Mullins then served as a law clerk for the Honorable Luther Bohanon, District Court Judge in the Western District of Oklahoma, until 1984, when he began service as an Assistant United States Attorney."
Steven K. Mullins
United States Attorney
230 S. Phillips Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
Telephone: 605 330-4400
- "S.D. judges' actions may set national precedent. Scholars disagree on U.S. attorney process," Argus Leader, January 8, 2006.
- Mary Clare Jalonik, "Bush gives Mullins recess appointment," Associated Press, January 9, 2006.