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Tom Miller

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Thomas John Miller
Tom Miller small.jpg
Attorney General of Iowa
In office
1979-1991, 1995-Present
Term ends
January 2019
Years in position (current service)20
Years in position (previous service)12
PredecessorBonnie Campbell (D)
Former President of the National Association of Attorneys General
Base salary$123,669
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First elected1978
Campaign $$1,270,240
Term limitsNone
High schoolWalert High School (1962)
Bachelor'sLoras College (1966)
J.D.Harvard Law School (1969)
Date of birthAugust 11, 1944
Place of birthDubuque, Iowa
Office website
Thomas John Miller (born August 11, 1944, in Dubuque, Iowa) is the current Democratic Attorney General of Iowa. He was first elected in November of 1978 and held the position uninterrupted for 12 years.[1] Miller forwent re-election as attorney general in 1990 to pursue an ultimately unsuccessful bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

After sitting out one term, Miller made his comeback in the 1994 attorney general race, when he won his fourth term in the office. He was subsequently re-elected in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and most recently in 2014.

Miller began his ninth non-consecutive term in January 2015, having won re-election again on November 4, 2014.[2] Miller was unopposed in the June 3 Democratic primary, and faced one challenger, Republican Adam Gregg in the general election.

Prior to entering politics with his first and only failed 1974 campaign for attorney general, Miller was city attorney of McGregor and Marquette, Iowa.[3] He returned to private practice upon the expiration of his third term as Iowa Attorney General, working as a Partner/Attorney, Faegre & Benson Law Firm from 1991-1994.[4]

Miller is currently the President of the National Association of Attorneys General. Outside the state, Miller is perhaps best known for having led the roughly three year-long settlement negotiations - ending in Feb. 2012 - between 49 state attorneys general and five top U.S. financial institutions tied to wrongful home foreclosures. In 2008, he was one of six state attorneys general, all of whom belonged to the Democratic Party, who received the highest rating, a letter grade of A+, from the June 2008 Survey and Scorecard report published by the political organization, ACORN.


Miller was born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa, where his father served as county assessor. He graduated from Wahlert High School in 1962 and Loras College in 1966, and he received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1969. Following in his father's example, Miller decided to move to Baltimore, Maryland after law school to spend two years working as a volunteer for VISTA, a cadaveric surgical training facility.

While in Maryland, Miller took a job as legislative assistant to U.S. Representative John C. Culver, taught law part-time at the Maryland School of Law and eventually became legal education director at the Baltimore Legal Aid Bureau.[3] He moved back to Iowa in 1973 and opened up a private practice.


  • Wahlert High School (1962)
  • Bachelor's degree, Loras College (1966)
  • Juris Doctorate degree, Harvard Law School (1969)

Political career

Attorney General of Iowa (1979-1991, 1995-present)

Miller first ran, unsuccessfully, for Attorney General in 1974, but prevailed in 1978. He remained in the position for 12 years. Miller returned to politics in 1990 with a gubernatorial bid, but did not receive the Democratic nomination. He was elected to a fourth term as Iowa Attorney General in 1994 and won re-election to the office again in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.

Miller is a former president of the National Association of Attorneys General.


Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act

On March 11, 2013, Miller, together with twelve other state attorneys general, sent a letter to Congress in support of the Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act, a bill which would ban for-profit colleges from using federal funds for marketing and recruiting techniques.[5] Sponsored by Senators Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), who chairs the chamber's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, the law aims to “ensure that scarce federal education dollars will be used to serve and educate students rather than to finance advertising campaigns, recruitment operations, and aggressive marketing.”[6] Consumer protection is one of the key duties assigned to the attorney general in each state.

According to the law's text, student enrollment at for-profit degree-issuing institutions such as the University of Phoenix more than doubled between 1998-2008, during which time the federal government--through student financial assistance programs--provided 86 percent of revenues to 15 reviewed publicly traded companies operating these for-profit colleges. A separate analysis of 15 such companies concluded that, on average, 28 percent of all expenditures were on advertising, marketing, and recruiting. Critics, including the attorneys general responsible for the letter advocating the bill's passage, contend that these expenditures are used to deceive consumers about program costs, graduation rates, or their employment potential beyond graduation. The bill seeks to restrict spending of this nature by higher education institutions or other postsecondary educational institution by prohibiting use of federal loans or grants in specific areas, and requiring that all such institutions whose revenues can be traced to federal educational assistance funds "report annually to the Secretary and to Congress the institution's expenditures on advertising, marketing, and recruiting."[5]

In the letter, the attorneys general urged, “Federal taxpayers should not be asked to foot the bill for aggressive recruiting and deceptive sales tactics of colleges that have placed profits ahead of ensuring student success.”[7] There are an estimated 3,000 for-profit schools nationwide, though neither the letter nor the bill cited the name of a specific institution.[8]

Presidential preference

Miller and Iowa State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald were among the first state officials in the country to back United States Senator Barack Obama for President on February 11, 2007.[9]

Mortgage Crisis
See also: February 15, 2012 Ballotpedia News Article about foreclosure settlement

Miller led the roughly three year-long multi-state negotiations in the effort to settle with several U.S. banks over alleged abuses and faulty documentation used in the wrongful seizure of homes since the crisis began in 2008. The deal, which 49 states ultimately agreed upon in February 2012 (Oklahoma's Scott Pruitt made an independent deal for his state), was expected to yield up to $40 billion in relief to struggling homeowners, and an estimated "1 million U.S. homeowners who are "underwater" on their mortgages -- with principal exceeding the home's value -- will be eligible for as much as $20,000 in relief of principal owed."[10][11]

Attorneys general from around the country collaborated on the deal to provide immediate assistance to their states' constituents, with notable exceptions, including California's Kamala D. Harris (D), New York's Eric Schneiderman (D) and Delaware's Beau Biden (D). Biden re-entered the fray at the last minute on the reassuring knowledge that the banks would be much more disposed to agree on a deal if it included immunity from mortgage servicing claims Harris and Schneiderman.[10]


See also: Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now

Miller was one of six state attorneys general, all of whom belonged to the Democratic Party, who received the highest rating, a letter grade of A+, from the June 2008 Survey and Scorecard report published by the political organization, ACORN. The report was published in an effort to shine the spotlight on state attorneys general "leading the fight to protect homeowners from joining the flood of Americans losing their homes to foreclosure," according to the group.[12]

Foreclosure investigation

According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, Miller accepted significant contributions to his 2010 re-election campaign from out-of-state lawyers after launching an investigation of the foreclosure practices of prominent banks. Without making any specific allegations, NIMISP suggested the timing and scale of Miller's contributions from out-of-state and legal sources was related to his investigation.

NIMISP noted that Miller's 2010 contributions from out-of-state sources and from lawyers and lobbyists in general greatly exceeded what he had previously brought in from those demographics. Though Miller raised twice as much in 2010 as he had in his 2006 and 2002 campaigns combined, he raised more than ten times as much from lawyers and lobbyists in the finance, insurance and real estate sectors. In particular, $170,300 -- over 20 percent of Miller's total contributions -- came between September 30 and election day, after Miller announced the beginning of his investigation on October 13. Though it is not unusual for a large proportion of candidates' contributions to come in the last month before an election, the NIMISP report argued that the huge discrepancy between Miller's out-of-state contributions from lawyers and lobbyists in 2010 and in previous campaigns suggested a link with his investigation.[13]



See also: Iowa attorney general election, 2014

Miller ran for re-election as attorney general in 2014.[14] He was unopposed for the Democratic nomination in the primary election on June 3, 2014, and faced a single challenger in the general election, Republican Adam Gregg. Tom Miller won the general election on November 4, 2014.


Attorney General of Iowa, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngTom Miller Incumbent 56.1% 616,711
     Republican Adam Gregg 43.8% 481,046
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.1% 1,249
Total Votes 1,099,006
Election Results via Iowa Secretary of State.


See also: Iowa Attorney General election, 2010
  • 2010 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary
  • Tom Miller ran unopposed in this contest
2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election[15]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Tom Miller 55.5%
     Republican Party Brenna Findley 44.4%
     Write-In 0.1%
Total Votes 1,094,633


  • 2006 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary and General Election
    • Tom Miller ran unopposed in both contests


  • 2002 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary
    • Tom Miller ran unopposed in this contest
2002 Race for Attorney General - General Election[16]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Tom Miller 61.6%
     Republican Party Dave Millage 36.7%
     Libertarian Party Edward F. Noyes 1.7%
Total Votes 993,254


  • 1998 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary
    • Tom Miller ran unopposed in this contest
1998 Race for Attorney General - General Election[17]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Tom Miller 65.4%
     Republican Party Mark Schwickerath 32.4%
     Natural Law Nancy L. Watkins 2.2%
Total Votes 922,155

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Miller is available dating back to 1998. Based on available campaign finance records, Miller raised a total of $1,270,240 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 10, 2013.[18]

Tom Miller's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Attorney General of Iowa Not up for election $17,463
2010 Attorney General of Iowa Won $785,103
2008 Attorney General of Iowa Not up for election $2,931
2006 Attorney General of Iowa Won $109,594
2004 Attorney General of Iowa Not up for election $9,424
2002 Attorney General of Iowa Won $217,602
1998 Attorney General of Iowa Won $128,123
Grand Total Raised $1,270,240

1998, 2002, 2006, 2010

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Tom Miller's donors each year.[19] Click [show] for more information.

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Miller resides in McGregor, Iowa. He has a son named Matt.[3]

Contact Information


Capitol Address:
Iowa Attorney General
1305 East Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

Phone: (515) 281-5164
Fax: (515) 281-4209

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Office of the Iowa Attorney General, "Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller," accessed January 17, 2013
  2. The Gazette, "Iowa Attorney General Miller ‘off and running’ for ninth term - See more at:," November 13, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Attorney General Tom Miller, "About Tom," accessed February 17, 2012
  4. Project Vote Smart, "Thomas Miller," accessed February 17, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Library of Congress, "Bill Text 113th Congress (2013-2014) S.528.IS," March 12, 2013
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named agsletter
  7. The Boston Globe, "Attorney generals to Congress: Don’t let for-profit colleges use federal grants and loans for advertising," March 17, 2013
  8. Commonwealth of Kentucky Office of the Attorney General, "Letter to Congress," March 11, 2013
  9. The American Presidency Project, "Press Release - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald Endorse Barack Obama for President," February 11, 2007
  10. 10.0 10.1 WDTV, "Attorney General Adds West Virginia To Mortgage Settlement," June 18, 2014
  11. Book of States: Council of State Governments, "Attorneys General: Valuing Privacy in the Digital Age," July 1, 2013
  12. ACORN "Attorneys General Take Action: Real Leadership in Fighting Foreclosures" June 2008
  13. National Institute on Money in Politics, "Campaign Contributions Rise When Foreclosure Investigation Begins," April 20, 2011
  14. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named releection14
  15. Iowa Secretary of State - 2010 General Election Results
  16. Iowa Secretary of State - Official 2002 General Election Results
  17. Iowa Secretary of State - Official 1998 General Election Results
  18. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Tom Miller," accessed July 10, 2013
  19. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015

Political offices
Preceded by
Bonnie Campbell (D)
Iowa Attorney General
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Richard C. Turner
Iowa Attorney General
Succeeded by
Bonnie Campbell (D)