Attorney General of Louisiana

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Louisiana Attorney General
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012-2013 FY Budget:  $58,012,459
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Louisiana Constitution, Article 4, Section 8
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Buddy Caldwell.jpg
Name:  Buddy Caldwell
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  2007
Compensation:  $115,000
Next election:  November 2015
Last election:  November 19, 2011
Other Louisiana Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Attorney General of Louisiana is the chief legal officer of the state of Louisiana.[1] The incumbent is James D. "Buddy" Caldwell, who switched his allegiance from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in February 2011.[2]

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Buddy Caldwell, who was first elected as a Democrat in 2007. Caldwell defeated Democratic incumbent Charles F. Foti, Jr. in the blanket primary, and overtook Republican challenger, Shreveport attorney Royal Alexander, in the general election. Caldwell switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in February 2011; He ran unopposed for re-election that November. Before becoming attorney general, Caldwell served 26 years as district attorney of Louisiana's 6th Judicial District, centered on the town of Tallulah.


The office of attorney general is established by Article 4, Section 8 of the Louisiana Constitution. The incumbent is granted the authority to intervene in "any civil action or proceeding," to "assist in the prosecution of any criminal case," and to represent the state in any civil or criminal action.[1]

Louisiana Constitution, Article 4, Section 8

... the attorney general shall have authority (1) to institute, prosecute, or intervene in any civil action or proceeding; (2) upon the written request of a district attorney, to advise and assist in the prosecution of any criminal case; and (3) for cause, when authorized by the court which would have original jurisdiction and subject to judicial review, (a) to institute, prosecute, or intervene in any criminal action or proceeding, or (b) to supersede any attorney representing the state in any civil or criminal action. The attorney general shall exercise other powers and perform other duties authorized by this constitution or by law."


Article 4, Section 2 of the Louisiana Constitution requires that a candidate for attorney general be at least twenty-five years old, a citizen of the United States and Louisiana for the five years preceding election, and permitted to practice law in the state for at least five years.[3]

Louisiana Constitution, Article 4, Section 2

To be eligible for any statewide elective office, a person, by the date of his qualification as a candidate, shall have attained the age of twenty-five years, be an elector, and have been a citizen of the United States and of this state for at least the preceding five years. In addition, the attorney general shall have been admitted to the practice of law in the state for at least the five years preceding his election. During his tenure in office, a statewide elected official shall hold no other public office except by virtue of his elected office.


Louisiana state government organizational chart

The Louisiana Constitution prescribes that all statewide executive officials, including the attorney general, be elected for a term of four years, and that their term begin "at noon on the second Monday in January next following the election.[4] Executive officials are elected in years preceding presidential contests (2003, 2007, 2011, etc.).



See also: Louisiana Attorney General election, 2015

There is a regularly scheduled election for attorney general in 2015. Buddy Caldwell (R) is eligible for re-election. The primary election will take place on October 24, 2015, with a runoff election on November 21, 2015, if no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote.


Incumbent Buddy Caldwell indicated he would run for re-election after officially switching his allegiance from the Democratic to the Republican Party in February 2011, a move the Louisiana Democratic Party criticized as an opportunistic play for conservative votes.[5] Former U.S. Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao declared in he would challenge Caldwell in the October 22 Republican primary.

No Democrats had entered the race as of July 2011, making an uncontested November 8 general election a possibility.


Caldwell won election as Louisiana Attorney General in November 2007, defeating Republican Royal Alexander. Democratic incumbent Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti was eliminated in the blanket primary.[6]

  • 2007 General Election
    • Caldwell won the general election for attorney general with 67% of the vote.
Attorney General of Louisiana, 2007
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBuddy Caldwell 66.6% 477,574
     Republican Royal Alexander 33.4% 239,485
Total Votes 717,059
Election Results via Louisiana Secretary of State

  • 2007 Open Primary Election
Attorney General of Louisiana, Primary Election, 2007
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBuddy Caldwell 52.3% 434,507
     Republican Royal Alexander 47.7% 395,498
     Democratic Charles C. Foti, Jr. Incumbent 0% 0
Total Votes 830,005
Election Results via Louisiana Secretary of State

Term limits

There are no term limits for Louisiana's statewide executive officials other than the governor. Bills have occasionally been introduced into the state legislature to implement such limits, but the latest attempt, in 2010, failed.[7]


Per Article 4, Section 16 of the Louisiana Constitution, vacancies in the office of attorney general are filled by first assistant attorney general, unless the length of the unexpired term exceeds one year. In that case, the governor calls a special election to fill the vacancy.[8]


The official website of the Louisiana attorney general gives its mission as "to protect the ... State of Louisiana by providing superior legal representation, and interpretation, professional and effective law enforcement, and public education programs."[9]

As chief legal officer of the state, the attorney general is also responsible for providing official legal opinions to state agencies, officers and legislators. He may also advise "local political subdivisions," and their offices.[10]

As noted above, the attorney general of Louisiana, under certain conditions, intervenes in civil or criminal cases in state courts, and may represent the state itself in civil or criminal actions.


The Louisiana Department of Justice is divided into the follow divisions:

  • Administrative Services - Coordinates the department's budget, legislative affairs and department planning and performance.
  • Civil - Provides legal representation to the state, its departments and agencies, boards and commissions, and statewide elected officials.
  • Criminal - Assists federal, state and local agencies in the investigation and prosecution of a wide range of criminal matters.
  • Executive - Oversees all department operations. Houses the Appellate Section and the Public Information Office.
  • Gaming - Serves as legal advisor and legal representative to all Louisiana gaming regulatory agencies.
  • Investigations - Provides follow-up investigation services for Criminal Division; responds to requests for investigative assistance from any government agency; and provides investigative services in white collar crime and public corruption.
  • Public Protection - Provides legal services in the areas of consumer protection and environmental law, insurance receivership and fair housing.
  • Risk Litigation - Represents the Office of Risk Management, the Self-Insurance Fund and the State in all claims covered by the State Self-Insurance Fund, and in all tort claims whether or not covered by the Self-Insurance Fund.[11]

State budget

The Office of the Attorney General's budget for fiscal year 2012-2013 was $58,012,459.[12]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers


In 2014, the attorney general earned a salary of $115,000, according to the Council of State Governments.[13]


In 2013, the attorney general's salary remained at $115,000.[14]


In 2012, the attorney general was paid an estimated $115,000. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.


In 2010, the attorney general received compensation in the amount of $115,000.[15]

Campaign finance

Main article: Campaign finance requirements for Louisiana ballot measures

The Attorney General of Louisiana is responsible for prosecuting all criminal violations of Louisiana's campaign finance laws.[16]

If someone feels a person violated Louisiana's campaign finance laws, the first step is to file a complaint with the Louisiana Ethics Administration Program.[17] It is up to the Supervisory Committee of the Ethics Administration Program on a two-thirds vote to approve all investigations.[18]

Historical officeholders

Since becoming a state in 1812, Louisiana has had 44 attorneys general.

Click "show" for former officeholders.

Recent news

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Attorney General of Louisiana News Feed

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Contact information

1885 N. Third Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Phone: 225-326-6705
Fax: 225-326-6793

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 'Louisiana Constitution, Article 4, Section 8," accessed May 17, 2011
  2. The Times-Picayune, "Attorney General Buddy Caldwell switches to Republican," February 2, 2011
  3. 'Louisiana Constitution, Article 4, Section 2," accessed May 17, 2011
  4. Louisiana Constitution, Article 4, Section 3," accessed May 17, 2011
  5. Real Clear Politics, "Caldwell announces his switch to the GOP," February 2, 2011
  6. WAFB, "Buddy Caldwell Wins the Attorney General's Race," November 18, 2007
  7. Louisiana State Legislature</i>, "2010 Regular Session, House Bill 51 (Rep. Simone Champagne, sponsor)," accessed May 17, 2011
  8. Louisiana Constitution, Article 4, Section 16," accessed May 17, 2011
  9. Office of the Attorney General, State of Louisiana, "About the Office," accessed May 17, 2011
  10. Office of the Attorney General, State of Louisiana, "Opinions," accessed May 17, 2011
  11. Office of the Attorney General, State of Louisiana, "Divisions Overview," accessed May 17, 2011
  12. State of Louisiana, "State Budget Fiscal Year 2013-2013," 67," accessed June27, 2013
  13. Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," accessed November 24, 2014
  14. Council of State Governments, Table 4.11 Selected State Administrative Officials:Annual Salaries," accessed January 23, 2014
  15. The Book of States<i>, Council of State Governments 2010," accessed May 17, 2010.
  16. Louisiana Legislature, "Louisiana Revised Statutes"(Referenced Statute 18:1511.6(A)-(B) Louisiana Revised Statutes)
  17. Louisiana Legislature, "Louisiana Revised Statutes"(Referenced Statute 18:1511.2(A) 1, Louisiana Revised Statutes)
  18. Louisiana Legislature, "Louisiana Revised Statutes"(Referenced Statute 18:1511.4(A), Louisiana Revised Statutes)