Attorney General of Texas
|Texas Attorney General|
|Office website:||Official Link|
|2013 FY Budget:||$508,020,444|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Assumed office:||January 5, 2015|
|Other Texas Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General • Comptroller • Auditor • Education Commissioner • Agriculture Commissioner • Insurance Commissioner • Land Commissioner • Workforce Commission • Public Utility Commission • Railroad Commission|
- 1 Current officeholder
- 2 Qualifications
- 3 Vacancies
- 4 Elections
- 5 Duties
- 6 Divisions
- 7 State budget
- 8 Compensation
- 9 Historical officeholders
- 10 Recent news
- 11 Contact information
- 12 See also
- 13 External links
- 14 References
The attorney general is a powerful and influential office in the Texas government. In addition to the primary role as chief legal counsel to the state of Texas, the attorney general influences public policy and affairs by issuing legal opinions on proposed and existing laws and regulations, advising state agencies, overseeing corporations and protecting charitable trusts, overseeing child-support collection and a host of other activities. The office sits at a unique intersection of law, politics, administration, regulation and enforcement. As such the attorney general must be politically and administratively adept, in addition to possessing a sharp legal mind.
The current officeholder is Republican Ken Paxton. He was first elected attorney general in November 2014, and took office January 5, 2015. Paxton succeeded Greg Abbott (R), who ran successfully for governor in 2014. Before becoming attorney general, Paxton was a member of the Texas State Senate.
According to the Texas Secretary of State, state law demands that no person shall be eligible for to run for the office of attorney general unless they are:
- at least 18 years of age
- a citizen of the United States
- a resident of Texas for at least 12 months
Article 4, Section 12 (a) of the Texas Constitution states: "All vacancies in State or district offices, except members of the Legislature, shall be filled unless otherwise provided by law by appointment of the Governor."
Article 4, Section 2 of the Texas Constitution states: "All the above officers of the Executive Department (except Secretary of State) shall be elected by the qualified voters of the State at the time and places of election for members of the Legislature." The attorney general is elected to serve for a four-year term. There is no term limit for this office.
- See also: Texas attorney general election, 2014
|Attorney General of Texas, 2014|
|Election Results via Texas Secretary of State.|
To view the electoral history dating back to 2002 for the office of Texas Attorney General, Click [show] to expand the section.
The Attorney General shall represent the State in all suits and pleas in the Supreme Court of the State in which the State may be a party, and shall especially inquire into the charter rights of all private corporations, and from time to time, in the name of the State, take such action in the courts as may be proper and necessary to prevent any private corporation from exercising any power or demanding or collecting any species of taxes, tolls, freight or wharfage not authorized by law. He shall, whenever sufficient cause exists, seek a judicial forfeiture of such charters, unless otherwise expressly directed by law, and give legal advice in writing to the Governor and other executive officers, when requested by them, and perform such other duties as may be required by law.
- Main Article: Campaign finance requirements for Texas ballot measures
The Texas Attorney General has all disciplinary authority over campaign finance laws in the State of Texas. The Texas Attorney General is automatically referred all criminal law campaign finance complaints from the Texas Ethics Commission. The attorney general also represents the Texas Ethics Commission in all civil complaints. The first step in filing any campaign finance complaint is to file with the Texas Ethics Commission. All complaints must be sworn at the time of filing and any complaint must have the determination of enough probable cause before proceeding any action.
Crime Victim Services Division
"The Crime Victim Services Division provides services and resources to crime victims throughout Texas. The Crime Victims' Compensation Program provides reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses to eligible victims of violent crime and their families. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Crisis Services Program provides technical assistance to sexual assault programs and certifies sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE). The Division also administers the Texas VINE (VIctim Information and Notification Everyday) system."
Criminal Investigations Division
"The Criminal Investigations Division is staffed by commissioned peace officers and crime analysts who undertake a wide range of investigations and activities to support detection, prevention, and prosecution of crime. This division investigates and supports the prosecution of both violent crimes and white-collar crimes, including complex fraud crimes, Election Code violations, and public corruption matters. The division proactively investigates online child predators and child pornographers who use the Internet and computers to victimize children. The activities of the division also include locating and arresting fugitive Texas parole absconders, and arresting convicted sex offenders who have failed to comply with mandated sex offender registration requirements. The division prides itself on its strong partnerships and coordination with state, federal, and local law enforcement authorities. The division has staff located in Austin, Houston, Forth Worth, San Antonio, and El Paso.
Criminal Prosecutions Division
"The Criminal Prosecutions Division is staffed by prosecutors who practice in both state and federal courts in Texas. These prosecutors handle cases pursuant to the Attorney General's original criminal jurisdiction, when original jurisdiction is provided by Texas law; pursuant to concurrent criminal jurisdiction with district and county attorneys, when concurrent criminal jurisdiction is provided by Texas law; and pursuant to requests for assistance from local prosecutors and offers of assistance to local prosecutors. The division also works cooperatively with the U.S. Attorney's Offices in the four federal districts in Texas, and prosecutors in the division appear in federal court as Special Assistant United States Attorneys. The division consists of four teams of lawyers and subject matter experts in the areas of Violent Crime and Major Offenders, Cyber Crime and Child Protection, White Collar Crime and Public Integrity, and Juvenile Crime Intervention.
The White Collar Crime and Public Integrity Section is also responsible to act as the Attorney General's liaison to the Texas Residential Mortgage Fraud Task Force. The Texas Legislature created this task force and entrusted the Attorney General with coordinating efforts of numerous state and federal agencies to share information and cooperate in the efforts of investigation and prosecution of mortgage fraud throughout the State."
Medicaid Fraud Control Unit
"The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit conducts criminal investigations and prosecutions of Medicaid providers who are suspected of committing fraud against the Medicaid program. The Unit also investigates allegations of physical abuse and neglect in nursing homes that receive Medicaid funding. The Unit employs investigators and auditors who conduct investigations and assist in the prosecution of Medicaid providers who defraud the system or abuse the elderly. The Unit also employs prosecutors who represent the State of Texas or the United States in state and federal courts throughout Texas. The Unit has its administrative headquarters and an investigative team in Austin, and eleven other investigative teams in eight field offices across Texas."
Postconviction Litigation Division
"The Postconviction Litigation Division defends state felony convictions and sentences against constitutional challenge in federal court. The division's attorneys, representing the Director of the Correctional Institutions Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (the inmates' custodian), provide briefing and argument to the federal courts that hear these challenges. The division's attorneys and staff also investigate cases, including thorough review of the record from state court proceedings, and conduct evidentiary hearings when warranted in a case. The division's attorneys appear regularly in federal district courts throughout Texas, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States. Capital litigation attorneys handle petitions for certiorari review on direct appeal from the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas and federal habeas corpus challenges from the federal district court through the Supreme Court."
"As the official child support enforcement agency for the State of Texas, the Office of the Attorney General provides services for parents who wish to obtain or provide support for their children."
"The Attorney General for the state of Texas protects consumers and the legitimate business community by filing civil lawsuits under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act and other consumer protection statutes."
Open Records Division
"The Open Records Division of the Office of the Attorney General issues rulings and decisions that determine whether information is open to the public under the Public Information Act and other applicable laws. Each year, the division receives thousands of letter briefs from governmental bodies seeking decisions on open records matters."
Intergovernmental Relations Division
"The Intergovernmental Relations Division, through its Municipal Affairs and County Affairs Sections, gives legal advice to local governmental entities and officials. This division also provides speakers to numerous conferences and seminars concerning open government laws."
- See also: Texas state budget and finances
The budget for the Texas Attorney General's office in Fiscal Year 2013 was $508,020,444.
- See also: Compensation of state executive officers
See statutes: Texas Statutes Title 6, Chapter 659
The attorney general, along with the rest of Texas' executive officers, is entitled by Article 4, Section 23 of the Texas Constitution to receive an annual salary, pursuant to Title 6, Section 659.011 of the Texas Statutes. The legislature was empowered to set the salaries of executive branch officers by a 1954 constitutional amendment. Prior to that, the constitution stipulated the salary amounts paid to each officer. The amounts are fixed by the biennial General Approprations Act.
In 2010, the annual salary for the attorney general was $150,000.
Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the Attorney General of Texas has not yet been added because the information was unavailable on the relevant state official websites, or we are currently in the process of formatting the list for this office. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Texas Attorney General."
- Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.
Post Office Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548
Toll Free Phone: 800-252-8011
- Attorney General of Texas, "Agency," accessed January 22, 2015
- Texas State Historical Association, "Texas Attorney General," accessed April 20, 2015
- KXAN, "Ken Paxton sworn in as new Texas Attorney General," January 5, 2015
- Texas Secretary of State - Qualifications for Office
- Texas Ethics Commission, "Texas Campaign Finance Complaint Process," accessed April 20, 2015
- Criminal Justice Divisions
- Child Support Division
- Legislative Reference Library of Texas , "General Appropriations Act for the 2012-2013 Biennium," accessed April 6, 2013 (dead link)
- Texas State Historical Association, "SALARIES OF STATE EXECUTIVE OFFICERS," accessed March 6, 2015
- Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," accessed December 8, 2014
- Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," January 28, 2014
- Sunshine Review, "Texas state government salary," accessed May 18, 2011
State of Texas
|State executive offices||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Secretary of State | Attorney General | Comptroller | State Auditor | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture | Commissioner of General Land Office | Chairman of Workforce Commission | Chairman of Public Utilities | Chairman of Railroad Commission |