The Washington Times - April 9, 2012, 07:40PM

It’s not every day that the Obama administration loses a top official to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but that’s what’s happening later this month with the departure of Larry Echo Hawk.

Mr. Echo Hawk, the Interior assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, plans to leave his position April 27 to join the Mormon church as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, one of the church’s ordained leadership posts.


An enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation, Mr. Echo Hawk served in the Idaho legislature and as Idaho attorney general before taking the federal post after the swearing-in of President Obama in 2009.

“The opportunity to participate in remedying the negative perceptions of the federal government in Indian Country was a formidable challenge at first, but I am proud to say that I have served my country as an agent for change here in Indian Affairs,” said Mr. Echo Hawk in a statement. “I believe at the end of this administration, the work we accomplished will leave a lasting legacy for American Indian and Alaska Natives.”

Would Mr. Echo Hawk return in the event of a Mitt Romney presidency? Doubtful.

The Republican Romney is a member of the LDS Church, but Mr. Echo Hawk is one of those rare Mormons who also belongs to the Democratic Party.