Attorney General of South Carolina
|South Carolina Attorney General|
|Office website:||Official Link|
|2012-2013 FY Budget:||$22,031,154|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||South Carolina Constitution, Article V, Section 24|
|Assumed office:||January 12, 2011|
|Next election:||November 4, 2014|
|Last election:||November 2, 2010|
|Other South Carolina Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Comptroller • Attorney General • Treasurer • Auditor • Adjutant General • Inspector General • Superintendent of Education • Agriculture Commissioner • Insurance Commissioner • Natural Resources Commissioner • Labor Commissioner • Public Service Commission|
- 1 Current officeholder
- 2 Authority
- 3 Qualifications
- 4 Elections
- 5 Vacancies
- 6 Duties
- 7 Divisions
- 8 State budget
- 9 Compensation
- 10 Historical officeholders
- 11 Notable events
- 12 Recent news
- 13 Contact Information
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
Article V, Section 24 of the state constitution established the attorney general as the South Carolina chief legal officer.
Article V, Section 24:
|... The Attorney General shall be the chief prosecuting officer of the State with authority to supervise the prosecution of all criminal cases in courts of record.|
Article VI, Section 1 of the South Carolina Constitution establishes the qualifications of the office:
|No person may be popularly elected to and serve in any office in this State or its political subdivisions unless he possesses the qualifications of an elector, is not disqualified by age as prescribed in this Constitution, and has not been convicted of a felony under state or federal law or convicted of tampering with a voting machine, fraudulent registration or voting, bribery at elections, procuring or offering to procure votes by bribery, voting more than once at elections, impersonating a voter, or swearing falsely at elections/taking oath in another's name, or has not pled guilty or nolo contendere to these offenses. However, notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, this prohibition does not apply to a person who has been pardoned under state or federal law or to a person who files for public office fifteen years or more after the completion date of service of the sentence, including probation and parole time, nor shall any person, serving in office prior to the ratification of this provision, be required to vacate the office to which he is elected. No person may be elected or appointed to office in this State for life or during good behavior, but the terms of all officers must be for some specified period except officers in the militia.|
- possess the qualifications of an elector
- not disqualified by age as prescribed in the South Carolina Constitution
- not convicted of a felony under state or federal law
- not convicted of tampering with a voting machine, fraudulent registration or voting, bribery at elections, procuring or offering to procure votes by bribery, voting more than once at elections, impersonating a voter, or swearing falsely at elections/taking oath in another's name, or has not pled guilty or nolo contendere to these offenses
Article VI, Section 7 of the state constitution stipulates the attorney general will be elected every four years. The attorney general, like South Carolina's other executive officials, is elected in mid-term elections: 2010, 2014 and 2018.
- See also: State executives with term limits
South Carolina attorneys general are not subject to term limits.
To view the electoral history dating back to 2002 for the office of South Carolina Attorney General, Click [show] to expand the section.
Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches the constitutional or statutory text that details the process of filling vacancies for a state executive office. That information for the Attorney General of South Carolina 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.
The attorney general has duties in three distinct areas that mimic its roles: chief criminal prosecutor, chief legal officer, and securities commissioner.
- Chief criminal prosecutor:
- Represents the State of South Carolina in prosecuting criminal cases and holds supervisory authority over the prosecution of any and all criminal cases in the State of South Carolina;
- Oversees the activities of the State Grand Jury including the prosecution of multi-jurisdictional drug offenders, obscenity, public corruption, election fraud, computer crime violations, terrorism, and securities fraud;
- Trains and supervises pro-bono domestic violence prosecutors in summary and municipal court and through a federal grant, prosecutes in State courts defendants accused of criminal domestic violence;
- Represents the State in all death penalty appeals in both state and federal courts;
- Prosecutes cases of Internet crimes against children, including those involving sexual exploitation;
- Investigates and prosecutes cases of Medicaid fraud, patient abuse, and provider fraud;
- Represents the State in civil confinement trials of alleged sexually violent predators under South Carolina’s Sexually Violent Predators statute;
- Prosecutes all cases of insurance fraud;
- Prosecutes violations of State’s tax laws;
- Assists victims of crimes in claiming the benefits guaranteed under the State’s Victims Bill of Rights;
- Represents the State when defendants file for Post Conviction Relief and when they appeal their convictions;
- Sponsors a Youth Mentor Program designed to prevent juvenile crime and rescue at-risk youngsters before they commit violent offenses.
- Chief legal officer:
- Represents and advises the State, its agencies, political subdivision, and its officials in legal matters when the State is a party to a legal action, either as plaintiff or defendant;
- Is responsible for employing and supervising those attorneys who represent the State, as well as, overseeing the State’s litigation and effectuating South Carolina’s legal policy;
- Issues official legal opinions upon request by constitutional officers, members of the General Assembly, and certain state and local officials;
- Securities commissioner:
- Oversees the registration of all persons engaged in the sale of securities in the State of South Carolina; investigates allegations of fraud or other violations of securities laws and takes appropriate enforcement action; and provides information on securities laws and practices.
- Capital Collateral Litigation
- Civil Litigation
- Criminal Appeals
- Criminal Prosecution
- Medicaid Fraud
The budget for the in Fiscal Year 2012-2013 was $22,031,154.
- See also: Compensation of state executive officers
Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the Attorney General of South Carolina 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.
House Speaker investigation
In 2014, a court case in South Carolina tested the limits of the Attorney General's constitutional powers. The South Carolina Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell, Jr. is being investigated for campaign fund irregularities by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson. The judge in charge of the proceedings, L. Casey Manning, questioned the Attorney General's constitutional right to investigate the matter without first receiving the case from the House Ethics Committee. Three former South Carolina Attorneys General, Henry McMaster, Charlie Condon and Travis Medlock, joined the case to support the current officeholder saying, "Over the past thirty years, not one of us ever imagined the Attorney General needed authorization from a legislative committee or political body in order to investigate or prosecute alleged criminal behavior by an elected official. Such a restriction would undercut the core Constitutional authority of the Attorney General. And even more importantly, it would violate the fundamental basis of our system of government that all people should be treated equally under the law." Adding to the complexity of the case, Judge Manning was elected by the South Carolina General Assembly, creating a possible conflict of interest. South Carolina is one of two states where the legislature elects judges.
On May 12, Justice Manning handed down a decision that dissolved the grand jury for the case and shut down the Attorney General's investigation. Manning judged that there was no evidence of criminal allegations and, since ethics violations are a civil matter, any investigation must originate from the House Ethics Committee. Attorney General Alan Wilson promised to appeal to the South Carolina Supreme Court. Critics noted that the judge's decision seemed to give legislators a separate justice system in which they can only be investigated by their peers and "corruption (will be) what they (legislators) say it is."
This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term South Carolina + Attorney + General
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Attorney General of South Carolina:
Rembert Dennis Building
1000 Assembly Street, Room 519
Columbia, S.C. 29201
Toll Free Phone: 1-803-734-3970
- Governor: Nikki Haley (R)
- Lieutenant Governor: John McGill (D)
- Attorney General: Michael Alan Wilson (R)
- Auditor of State: Richard Gilbert, Jr. (R)
- Secretary of State: Mark Hammond (R)
- Commissioner of Agriculture: Hugh Weathers (R)
- Treasurer of State: Curtis Loftis, Jr. (R)
- Alan Wilson, South Carolina Attorney General, "Inside the Office," accessed May 9, 2014
- South Carolina Attorney General, "Full Biography," accessed November 4, 2012
- SCAG.gov, "Office overview," accessed October 11, 2011
- South Carolina Budget and Control Board, "Current Budget Plans FY 2013-2014," accessed April 9, 2013
- Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," January 29, 2014
- The Council of State Governments,"The Book of States 2010 Table 4.11," accessed April 23, 2011
- The State, "Scoppe: Here’s the real danger in the Harrell ruling," May 7, 2014
- The State, "Judge to AG Wilson: Stop SLED and grand jury probe of House Speaker Harrell," May 12, 2014
- The Post and COurier, "Judge Manning: S.C. House, not courts, should investigate Speaker Bobby Harrell," May 12, 2014
- The Center for Public Integrity, "An ethical mess in South Carolina," June 17, 2014