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January 3, 2023

Iowa Attorney General-elect Bird Announces Additional Senior Staff Positions

DES MOINES-- Iowa Attorney General-elect Brenna Bird today announced new members of her senior team. Bird named Solicitor General Eric Wessan, Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation Stan Thompson, Assistant Attorney General for Victim Services John Gish, and Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Dan Breitbarth to serve in the attorney general’s office. 

“I’m excited about the incredible team we’re forming of talented individuals to serve the people of Iowa,” said Bird. “Our team is composed of critical-thinkers, who bring with them a wealth of diverse legal experience and shared vision of service. Together, our team will work tirelessly to get criminals off the streets, seek justice for victims of crime, and uphold the rule of law.” 

Additional senior staff appointments will be announced in the coming weeks.

Eric Wessan
Eric Wessan will serve as Solicitor General, leading the State’s representation in the United States Supreme Court, Iowa Supreme Court, and other state and federal appellate courts. He'll play a critical role in Attorney General-elect Bird's efforts to push back against the Biden Administration and defend all of Iowa’s statutes.

Eric Wessan is an attorney with King & Spalding LLP in Chicago, where he practices complex civil litigation and appeals. He serves on the Board of the Chicago Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society and as Chair of the Chicago Young Lawyers Chapter. He was previously a law clerk for Judge James Ho of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Judge John F. Kness of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Before his legal career, Wessan worked as Vice Consul of Policy & Communication for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, getting to know Iowa well as he observed the Iowa Caucus campaigns on the ground. Wessan received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Chicago.

Stan Thompson
Stan Thompson will serve as Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation. In this role, he will lead the Litigation Division, the team of attorneys that defends the State, as well as its officials and employees in federal and state trial courts.

Stan Thompson currently serves as the Executive Director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. He previously practiced civil litigation for more than thirty years with Dentons Davis Brown, P.C., trying more than 35 cases to a jury and many bench trials, arbitration, and appeals. He served two years on the Iowa Public Information Board and was the Republican Nominee for Congress in Iowa’s third congressional district in 2002 and 2004. He started his legal career as a law clerk for Judge Allen Donielson on the Iowa Court of Appeals. Thompson is a graduate of Iowa State University and the George Washington University National Law Center.

John Gish
John Gish will serve as Assistant Attorney General for Victims Services. He will lead the Victims Services Division and its efforts to protect and assist victims of crime across Iowa.

John Gish has twice been elected Washington County Attorney, where he's served as the chief law enforcement officer of the county and a champion for victims. He is also a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve, deploying twice to the Middle East in 2014 and 2020. Gish previously served as an assistant county attorney in Keokuk and Washington Counties and an attorney with Disability Rights Iowa. He's a graduate of Iowa State University and Drake University Law School.

Dan Breitbarth
Dan Breitbarth will serve as Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs. He will engage with the Iowa Legislature to advance Attorney General-elect Bird's legislative priorities and assist legislators with their needs from the Office.

Dan Breitbarth is an assistant Boone County Attorney, where he's prosecuted two dozen cases to a jury. He's previously interned in the U.S. Attorney's Office, Polk County Attorney's Office, and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.  He is a member of the Iowa Public Information Board and the Executive Council of the Young Lawyers Division of the Iowa State Bar Association. Before law school, he worked as a staff assistant and constituent services specialist for Senator Chuck Grassley. Breitbarth began his public service in high school as a page in the Iowa House of Representatives. He's a graduate of Iowa State University and the Drake University Law School.


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