Attorney General of Alaska

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Alaska Attorney General
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2014 FY Budget:  $94,723,600
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   Serves at pleasure of governor
Authority:  Alaska Statutes, Title 44, Chapter 23, Section 10
Selection Method:  Appointed by governor
Current Officeholder

Craig W. Richards.jpg
Name:  Craig W. Richards
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  December 2014
Compensation:  $136,350
Other Alaska Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorAttorney GeneralComptrollerEducation CommissionerRevenue CommissionerAgriculture DirectorInsurance DirectorNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerRegulatory Commission
The Attorney General is the principal executive officer of the Alaska Department of Law, and is appointed by the governor. He "serves as the legal adviser for the governor and other state officers, prosecutes all violations of state criminal law, and enforces the consumer protection and unfair trade practices laws."[1]

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Craig W. Richards. He was appointed in December 2014 to replace Michael Geraghty (R). Richards was the law partner of Gov. Bill Walker (I) prior to his appointment.[2] Though Richards was appointed by an independent governor, the attorney general is registered to vote as a Republican.[3]


The attorney general's authority is based in statute, not the state's constitution. It establishes the office of attorney general as the "principal executive officer of the Department of Law.[4]

Alaska Statutes, Title 44, Chapter 23, Section 10

The principal executive officer of the Department of Law is the attorney general.


Like all principal executive officers in the Alaska government, the attorney general must "furnish corporate surety bonds in the instance and amount required by law," the cost of which is paid by the state. Otherwise, there are no special qualifications for the office of attorney general.[5]

Alaska Statutes, Title 44, Chapter 23, Section 50

The principal executive officer of each department and subordinate officials shall furnish corporate surety bonds in the instance and amount required by law or determined by the governor upon recommendation of the commissioner of administration. The state shall pay the cost of the bond. The attorney general shall approve the form of the bond.


Alaska state government organizational chart

The attorney general, like all Alaska executive department heads, is appointed by the governor and subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature.[6]

Alaska Statutes, Title 39, Chapter 5, Section 20

The governor shall appoint the head of each principal executive department in the state government. Each appointment is subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session.

Term limits

There are no term limits for the office of attorney general. The officeholder serves at the pleasure of the governor.


Alaska law does not prescribe any particular procedure for dealing with vacancies. It is the governor's responsibility to appoint a new attorney general, subject to approval from the legislature.


The attorney general oversees the Alaska Department of Law, prosecutes violations of state criminal law, issues legal advice to state officers and agencies and enforces other Alaska statutes. The office's duties are outlined in Alaska statute. They include:[7]

  • Defending the constitution of Alaska and of the United States.
  • Taking action to ensure collection of revenue
  • "[Representing] the state in all civil actions in which it is a party"
  • "[Prosecuting] all cases involving violation of state law"
  • Issuing advisory legal opinion to state officials or legislators
  • "[Drafting] legal instruments for the state"
  • Reporting to the legislature regarding the work of his office and necessary changes to existing law
  • Publishing a pamphlet on landlord and tenant rights.
  • Participating in the Regulatory Commission of Alaska as needed


The Alaska Department of Law is composed of several divisions and sections:[1]

Civil Division

  • Child Protection
  • Collections & Support
  • Commercial & Fair Business
  • Environmental Law
  • Human Services
  • Information & Project Support
  • Labor & State Affairs
  • Legal Support Services
  • Legislation & Regulations
  • Natural Resources
  • Oil, Gas & Mining
  • Opinions, Appeals & Ethics
  • Regulatory Affairs & Public Advocacy
  • Torts & Workers' Compensation
  • Transportation

Criminal Division

  • Prosecution
  • Special Prosecutions & Appeals
  • Victim & Witness Assistance
  • Advice to Public Safety Agencies

Regional District Attorney's Offices

  • Anchorage - 3rd Judicial District
  • Barrow - 2nd Judicial District
  • Bethel - 4th Judicial District
  • Dillingham - 3rd Judicial District
  • Fairbanks - 4th Judicial District
  • Juneau - 1st Judicial District
  • Kenai - 3rd Judicial District
  • Ketchikan - 1st Judicial District
  • Kodiak - 3rd Judicial District
  • Kotzebue - 2nd Judicial District
  • Nome - 2nd Judicial District
  • Palmer - 3rd Judicial District
  • Sitka - 1st Judicial District

State budget

See also: Alaska state budget and finances

The budget for the Alaska Department of Law in Fiscal Year 2014 was $94,723,600.[8]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

The attorney general's salary is determined by the Alaska State Officers Compensation Commission, a four-member board created by the Alaska State Legislature in 2008. This commission meets on a regular basis to evaluate salaries for the governor, lieutenant governor and other state executive officers. State law does not require legislative approval of the salaries, but legislators can vote to prevent salary changes as a veto on the commission's work.[9]

The Alaska Constitution only provides for the compensation of the governor and lieutenant governor by law. Chapter 2, Section 15 of the state constitution prevents changes in salary from taking effect until the next term for the affected office or offices.[10]


In 2014, the attorney general's salary increased to $136,350, according to the Council of State Governments.[11]


In 2013, the attorney general was paid an estimated $135,000. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

There have been 31 officeholders since 1916.[12][13][14][15]

List of Former Officeholders from 1869-Present
# Name Tenure Party
1 George Barnes Grigsby 1916-1919 Electiondot.png Democratic
2 Jeremiah C. Murphy 1919-1920 NA
3 John Rustgard 1920-1933 Ends.png Republican
4 James S. Truitt 1933-1941 NA
5 Henry Roden 1941-1945 Electiondot.png Democratic
6 Ralph J. Rivers 1945-1949 Electiondot.png Democratic
7 J. Gerald Williams 1949-1959 NA
8 John L. Rader 1959-1960 Electiondot.png Democratic
9 Ralph E. Moody 1960-1962 Electiondot.png Democratic
10 George N. Hayes 1962-1964 NA
11 Warren C. Colver 1964-1966 NA
12 D.A. Burr 1966-1967 NA
13 Edgar Paul Boyko 1967-1968 Electiondot.png Democratic
14 G. Kent Edwards 1968-1970 NA
15 John E. Havelock 1970-1973 Electiondot.png Democratic
16 Norman C. Gorsuch 1973-1974 NA
17 Avrum M. Gross 1974-1980 NA
18 Wilson L. Condon 1980-1982 NA
19 Norman C. Gorsuch 1982-1985 NA
20 Harold M. Brown 1985-1986 NA
21 Grace Berg Schaible 1987-1989 Electiondot.png Democratic
22 Douglas B. Baily 1989-1990 NA
23 Charles E. Cole 1991-1994 NA
24 Bruce M. Botelho 1994-2002 Electiondot.png Democratic
25 Gregg D. Renkes 2002-2005 Ends.png Republican
26 David W. Márquez 2005-2006 Ends.png Republican
27 Talis J. Colberg 2006-2009 Ends.png Republican
28 Daniel S. Sullivan 2009-2010 Ends.png Republican
29 John J. Burns 2010-2012 Ends.png Republican
30 Michael C. Geraghty 2012-2014 Ends.png Republican
31 Craig W. Richards 2014-present Ends.png Republican

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Alaska Attorney General Richards."

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 Alaska - Google News Feed

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Contact information


Alaska Department of Law
Post Office Box 110300
Juneau, AK 99811-0300

Phone: 907-465-2133
Fax: 907-465-2075

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Alaska Department of Law, "About the Department of Law," accessed June 1, 2011
  2. Alaska Dispatch News, "Walker names law partner as attorney general, makes 3 other appointments," November 25, 2014
  3. Alaska Dispatch News, "Walker appointees defy party labels, to chagrin of some on both sides," December 25, 2014
  4. Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 44.23.010," accessed June 1, 2011
  5. Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 39.05.050," accessed June 1, 2011
  6. Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 39.05.020," accessed June 1, 2011
  7. Alaska Legal Resource Center, "Alaska Statutes 44.23.010," accessed June 1, 2011
  8. Alaska Office of Management and Budget, "FY 2014 Operating Budget," May 21, 2013
  9. Alaska State Officers Compensation Commission, "Findings and Recommendations," January 10, 2009
  10. Alaska State Legislature, "Alaska's Constitution: A Citizen's Guide," accessed February 17, 2015
  11. Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," accessed November 14, 2014
  12. State of Alaska Department of Law, "Attorneys General of Alaska," accessed July 25, 2013
  13. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "Grigsby, George Barnes, (1874-1962)," accessed July 25, 2013
  14. Alaska State Library Historical Collections, "MS 107 Box 6 Diary 39--Diary of James Wickersham, October 1, 1928 through May 15, 1930," accessed April 13, 2015
  15. Find A Grave, "Ralph Julian Rivers," accessed July 25, 2013