Attorney General of Montana

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Montana Attorney General
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2014 FY Budget:  $86,649,146
Term limits:  Two terms in a 16 year period
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 1 the Executive Department
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Tim Fox.jpg
Name:  Tim Fox
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  January 7, 2013
Compensation:  $115,817
Next election:  November 8, 2016
Last election:  November 6, 2012
Other Montana Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of Public InstructionAgriculture DirectorInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources DirectorLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Attorney General of Montana is an elected constitutional position in the executive branch of the Montana state government. The attorney general is the state's chief legal officer, chief law enforcement officer and director of the Montana Department of Justice. The attorney general also serves as a member of the Montana Land Board and the Board of Examiners. The attorney general has the authority to provide legal opinions to the state legislature, state officers, city and county attorneys, among others. The attorney general also has supervisory authority over the state's 56 county attorneys and, at the request of local, state or federal law enforcement agencies, can investigate criminal violations of law.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Republican Tim Fox. He was elected in 2012 and took office January 7, 2013.[1]


The Montana Constitution addresses the office of attorney general in Article VI, the Executive Department.

Under Article VI, Section I:

The executive branch includes a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general...


A candidate for attorney general must be:

  • at least 25 years of age or older at the time of election
  • a citizen of the United States
  • have resided within the state at least two years at his election
  • be an attorney in good standing admitted to practice in Montana and have been actively practicing for at least five years


Montana state government organizational chart

Article VI of the Montana State Constitution stipulates that the attorney general is a publicly elected official who serves a term of four years. Terms begin the first Monday of January following election.


See also: Montana attorney general election, 2012

Incumbent Steve Bullock (D) did not run for re-election. Tim Fox (R) defeated Pam Bucy (R) in the November 6, 2012 general election.

Attorney General of Montana General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Pam Bucy 46.3% 218,228
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTim Fox 53.7% 252,916
Total Votes 471,144
Election Results via Montana Secretary of State.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits, State legislatures with term limits

Article VI of the Montana State Constitution stipulates that the attorney general is a publicly elected official who serves a term of four years. This statewide officer will, according to Article IV, Section 8, have served in that office or had he not resigned or been recalled would have served in that office 8 or more years in any 16-year period.


Details of vacancies are addressed under Article VI, Section 6.

If the attorney general's office is vacant due to death, resignation, or disability, the governor shall appoint a new attorney general.


The Montana Constitution addresses the duties of the attorney general in Article VI, Section 4.

Under Article VI, Section 4(4):

The attorney general is the legal officer of the state and shall have the duties and powers provided by law.

Role in the initiative process

There are two main ways in which the state attorney general influences the initiative and referendum process in Montana. First, the attorney general works with the secretary of state and with the submittors of proposed ballot measures to ensure the legality of ballot language. Second, the attorney general can issue opinions offering interpretations about aspects of the initiative process about which there is some ambiguity—and these opinions have the force of the law.

Ballot text approval

After the ballot measure text has been approved, a copy goes to the attorney general's office to verify its legality. If the attorney general determines that a proposed issue is legally sufficient but that the ballot statements clearly do not comply with legal requirements, the attorney general prepares statements that comply with applicable requirements and forwards them to the secretary of state. The review by the attorney general must be completed within 30 days of when the attorney general receives the draft petition.

The attorney general also writes an explanatory statement for all ballot measures that is published in the Voter Information Pamphlet (2006 example dead link). The statement is required to be an impartial explanation of the purpose of the ballot measures. It is also required to be written using easy-to-understand language. Part of the explanatory statement includes "for" and "against" sections for each issue on the ballot. If necessary, the attorney general will also prepare a fiscal statement.


Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for information that describes the divisions (if any exist) of a state executive office. That information for the Attorney General of Montana has not yet been added. After extensive research we were unable to identify any relevant information on state official websites. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

State budget

See also: Montana state budget and finances

The Montana Department of Justice's budget for fiscal year 2014 was $86,649,146.[2]


Under Article VI, Section 5 of the Montana Constitution, the attorney general's salary is fixed by law and the officeholder may not receive any other compensation while in office.

In 1995, the Montana Legislature passed MCA 2-16-403 and MCA 2-16-405, which require the state department of administration to conduct a salary survey every other year of elected officials for North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. The salary for the attorney general is determined by calculating the average salary of the attorneys general in the five states. The adjusted salary is effective July 1 of the year following the survey.[3]


In 2014, the attorney general earned a salary of $115,817, according to the Council of State Governments.[4]


In 2013, the attorney general was paid an estimated $104,077, according to the Council of State Governments.[5]


In 2010, the attorney general was paid an estimated $89,602, according to the Council of State Governments.[6]

Historical officeholders

Since 1889 Montana has had 23 attorneys general.[7]

# Name Took office Left office Party
1 Henri J. Haskill November 8, 1889 January 4, 1897
2 C.B. Nolan January 4, 1897 January 7, 1901
3 James Donovan January 1, 1901 January 2, 1905
4 Albert J. Galen January 2, 1905 January 6, 1913
5 D.M. Kelly January 6, 1913 May 31, 1915
6 J.B. Poindexter May 31, 1915 January 1, 1917
7 S.C. Ford January 1, 1917 January 3, 1921
8 Wellington D. Rankin January 3, 1921 August 30, 1924
9 L.A. Foot August 30, 1924 January 2, 1933
10 Raymond T. Nagle January 2, 1933 November 1, 1936
11 Enor K. Matson November 1, 1936 January 4, 1937
12 Harrison K. Freebourn January 4, 1937 January 6, 1941
13 John W. Bonner January 6, 1941 May 1, 1942
14 Howard M. Gullickson May 1, 1942 August 3, 1949
15 R.V. Bottombly August 3, 1942 January 7, 1957
16 Arnold H. Olsen January 3, 1949 January 7, 1957
17 Forrest H. Anderson January 7, 1957 January 5, 1969
18 Robert I. Woodahl January 6, 1969 January 2, 1977
19 Mike Greely January 3, 1977 January 2, 1989
20 Marc Racicot January 2, 1989 January 4, 1993
21 Joseph P. Mazurek January 4, 1993 January 2, 2001
22 Mike McGrath January 2, 2001 January 5, 2009 Democratic
23 Stephen Bullock January 5, 2009 January 7, 2013 Democratic
24 Tim Fox January 7, 2013 Present Republican

Recent news

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Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Attorney General of Montana - Google News Feed

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Contact Information

Attorney General Steve Bullock
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 201401
Helena, MT 59620-1401

Phone: 406-444-2026
Fax: 406-444-3549

See also

External links

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