Ellen Rosenblum

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Ellen Rosenblum
Ellen Rosenblum.jpg
Attorney General of Oregon
In office
June 29, 2012-present
Term ends
Years in position 3
PredecessorJohn Kroger (D)
Base salary$82,200
Elections and appointments
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Campaign $$1,149,864
AppointedJune 6, 2012
Appointed byGov. John Kitzhaber
Term limitsNone
Prior offices
Judge, Oregon Court of Appeals
Judge, Multnomah County Circuit Court
Judge, Multnomah County District Court
Bachelor'sUniversity of Oregon (1972)
J.D.University of Oregon (1975)
Date of birth1950
ProfessionProsecutor, Judge
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Ellen Rosenblum (b. 1950) is the current Attorney General of Oregon. A retired trial and appellate judge, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, Rosenblum, a Democrat, was sworn in on June 29, 2012, making her the state's first female attorney general. Former Governor John Kitzhaber appointed her to the position to serve out the remainder of the term of John Kroger (D) who vacated his seat six months ahead of schedule to become President of Reed College.[1]

Rosenblum easily won election to a full term on November 6, 2012, defeating Republican James Buchal by a margin of 56.3 percent to 39.2 percent.[2][3]

During her campaign, Rosenblum said she would work to restore morale in the Justice Department and improve the office's connections with the rest of government.[4]

A supporter of medical marijuana, Rosenblum backed legislation in 2013 to create a registry of state-licensed medical marijuana retail outlets.[5] That same year her office joined "friend-of-the-court" briefs in two U.S. Supreme Court cases in support of same-sex marriage.[6]


After receiving her law degree from the University of Oregon, Rosenblum began her legal career in private practice, joining a small firm in Eugene, Oregon in 1975. By 1980, she was serving as Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, where she specialized in financial crimes. She was appointed first to the Multnomah County District Court in 1989, and later, to the Circuit Court, by former Governor Barbara Roberts. She spent the last six years serving on the Oregon Court of Appeals, gaining further experience as a judge presiding over cases cases ranging from small claims to major civil litigation and serious crimes.[7]

Rosenblum previously served as an officer on the executive committee of the American Bar Association.


  • Bachelor's, University of Oregon, 1972
  • J.D., University of Oregon, 1975

Political Career

Oregon Attorney General (2012-present)

Ellen Rosenblum was sworn in as Oregon's interim attorney general on June 29, 2012 making her the first woman to hold the position in state history.[8] Former Governor John Kitzhaber’s (D) decision to appoint Rosenblum to finish Kroger's unexpired term was met with generally positive reviews from the state’s Justice Department, which the attorney general leads. After defeating Dwight Holton in the Democratic primary race on May 15, Rosenblum overtook Republican candidate James Buchal, Chris Henry (Progressive) and James Leuenberger (Libertarian, Constitution Party) in the general election on November 6, 2012, winning a full term as attorney general.[9][10]

Investigation of Gov. Kitzhaber

See also: Resignation of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber

John Kitzhaber 2013.jpg

Resignation of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber

Term in office: 1995-2003, 2011-2015

Next in succession:
Secretary of State Kate Brown (D)

Related pages
Resignation overview
February 11 story
February 13 story
Impeachment amendment
Recall effort
Cylvia Hayes
Kate Brown
Ellen Rosenblum
Governor of Oregon
Vacancy process

Flag of Oregon.png

Rosenblum announced on February 9 that she was initiating a criminal investigation of Gov. John Kitzhaber and his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes.[11] Rosenblum announced the investigation on the same day as Kitzhaber publicly requested a criminal investigation of potential ethics violations in his administration discussed in detail here. The attorney general's office has the ability to request records, issue subpoenas to witnesses and charge the governor and his advisors with illegal activity. Rosenblum delayed an investigation because she was concerned about her office's role as attorney for the executive branch, though former state officials argued that she is responsible for investigating corruption within the branch. Republican legislators including Ted Ferrioli support the investigation, but are arguing that a special prosecutor should be appointed to eliminate concerns about Rosenblum's objectivity in dealing with a fellow Democratic official.[12]

Kitzhaber announced his resignation from office on Friday, February 13, 2015, effective on February 18.[13]

Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act

On March 11, 2013, Rosenblum, 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.[14] 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.”[15] 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."[14]

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.”[16] There are an estimated 3,000 for-profit schools nationwide, though neither the letter nor the bill cited the name of a specific institution.[17]


A supporter of medical marijuana, Rosenblum backed a bill in June 2013, HB 3460, which would create a registry of state-licensed medical marijuana retail outlets. Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 1998, but the businesses that distribute it have operated in a gray area, as Rosenblum explained, stating, "These facilities operate in a climate of uncertain legality and the absence of a clear regulatory structure makes ensuring compliance with the law difficult." Pro marijuana groups supported Rosenblum during her 2012 run for attorney general, donating $200,000 to her campaign.[5]

Mortgage protections

On July 23, 2012, Rosenblum flexed her new attorney general muscles when she ordered the permanent adoption of temporary rules for shielding consumers from predatory lending practices. The rules were put in place by Kroger in February against the backdrop of the landmark $25 billion, 49-state mortgage settlement with five of the largest (and guiltiest of wrongful foreclosures) lending institutions in the country.[18] Her decision was hailed as a sensible, Oregon-centric approach to a complex issue that could have easily been treated with a cumbersome - "one-size-fits-all" - dose of reform measures derived too literally from the nationwide settlement. The decision to enact the rules after a successful trial run was intended to ensure the trend toward codifying a safer climate for borrowers initiated by the settlement continues in Oregon.[19] The Department of Justice also re-activated its survey effort to collect feedback from the public on how the new rules are working, and to see if any problems persist as the changes are "digested and the foreclosure mediation program fully implemented."[19] Rosenblum inherited a state on the cusp of rebound, albeit still in precarious condition; the mortgage and foreclosure crisis four years prior devastated Oregon's housing market. At the time of the rules' adoption, Oregonians were defaulting on their mortgages at a rate of 1,400 a month.[19]

The rules "place no new obligations on local banks and credit unions but make it unlawful for a mortgage loan servicer to fail to deal with a borrow in good faith," in addition to five other matters of conduct which violate the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act, which dates back to the 1970's.[18] (A detailed explication of the newly adopted mortgage loan rules can be viewed on the Oregon Department of Justice Website.)

Oregon Court of Appeals (2005-2012)

Rosenblum served as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals from 2005 to 2012.

Multnomah County Circuit Court (1989-1993, 1993-2005)

Rosenblum served two separate stints as a judge on the Multnomah County Circuit Court. She served a term in office from 1989 to 1993 and joined the court again from 1993 to 2005.



See also: Oregon attorney general election, 2012

Former incumbent attorney general John Kroger (D) vacated his seat six months ahead of schedule to become President of Reed College. On June 6, 2012 Governor John Kitzhaber appointed Rosenblum to serve out the remainder of Kroger's term, and she was subsequently sworn in as the state's first female attorney general on June 29, 2012.[8] She went on to win the general election on November 6, 2012.

Attorney General of Oregon General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngEllen Rosenblum Incumbent 56.3% 917,627
     Republican James Buchal 39.2% 639,363
     Libertarian James Leuenberger 2.8% 45,451
     Progressive Chris Henry 1.7% 28,187
Total Votes 1,630,628
Election Results via Oregon Secretary of State.

  • Primary
    • On May 15, 2012, Rosenblum defeated Dwight Holton in the Democratic primary for attorney general with 64% of the vote.
Oregon Attorney General Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngEllen Rosenblum 64.4% 197,366
Dwight Holton 35.4% 108,356
Write-in votes 0.2% 614
Total Votes 306,336
Election Results via Oregon Live.

Campaign themes

  • Crime

As a former judge and attorney general candidate, Rosenblum placed herself at the center of Oregon's raging debate over how best to manage criminals in the secondary phase after they are apprehended by law enforcement officers. The debate hinges on Measure 11, a law which imposes mandatory sentences for certain crimes. The measure is a strict and ostensibly effective approach to keeping violent and sexual criminals off the streets. The tough-on-crime portion of the state electorate wants to protect the measure from challenges by critics seeking to divert resources to greater crime prevention and rehabilitation of criminals. They looked to Rosenblum to clarify her stance on the measure, as it would be well within her purview if elected AG. Rosenblum gave Measure 11 mixed reviews, stating that her experience as a appellate court judge showed her how the measure is not necessarily the most sensible use of the state's scarce resources, and “I sometimes wondered why I was even sentencing the defendant in a case because the sentence was already kind of a done deal and it took the discretion away from judges,” she added.[22] She balanced her criticism with diplomatic assurance that she was not inclined toward "severely weakening" Measure 11. In a prepared statement to the press, she carefully summed up her points without expressing a categorical position on the issue, writing "It is critical that we take a tough stance on crime, but I am open to examining new ways of doing so that ensure that our scarce government resources are being used wisely."[22]


Rosenblum's campaign was supported by Emily's List, a fund-raising network dedicated to helping female candidates win elections. The political director of Emily's List, Jonathon Parker, noted in his endorsement statement on February 16, 2012 that Rosenblum's edge in the Democratic primary was that she gave voters the chance to elect the "first woman attorney general of Oregon."[23] Also endorsing Rosenblum:

  • Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement
  • Emily's list (fund-raising network women candidates)
  • Association of Federal, State, County & Municipal Employees Council 75
  • Former Attorney General Hardy Myers
  • Former Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer
  • Eugene State Senator Floyd Prozanski
  • Former Secretary of State Norma Paulus
  • Former Multnomah County Chair Bev Stein
  • Former Governor Barbara Roberts
  • Immediate Past President of the Oregon Bar Association Steve Piucci[24]
  • The Bend Bulletin[25]
  • Klamath County DA Edwin Caleb
  • Association of Federal, State, County & Municipal Employees Council 75

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Rosenblum is available dating back to 2012. Based on available campaign finance records, Rosenblum raised a total of $1,149,864 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 18, 2013.[26]

Ellen Rosenblum's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Attorney General of Oregon Won $1,149,864
Grand Total Raised $1,149,864


Rosenblum won re-election to the position of Attorney General of Oregon in 2012. During that election cycle, Rosenblum raised a total of $1,149,864.


Rosenblum resides in Portland with husband, Richard Meeker. The couple has two grown children, Cate and Will.[7]

Recent news

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Ellen Rosenblum - Google News Feed

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Contact information


Campaign contact

Ellen Rosenblum for Attorney General 2012
2236 SE 10th Avenue
Portland OR 97214
Email: info@ellenrosenblum.com

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Oregon Live, "Oregon Attorney General John Kroger will leave office early to be Reed College president," April 25, 2012
  2. Oregon Live, "2012 General Election Results," November 7, 2012
  3. Oregon Department of Justice, "Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenlbum," accessed June 29, 2012
  4. Oregon Live, "Ellen Rosenblum's mission will be to reconnect Justice Department to Legislature," May 15, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 Oregon Live, "Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum endorses bill legalizing medical marijuana outlets," June 18, 2013
  6. Oregon Live, "Oregon joins briefs in support of same-sex marriage in two U.S. Supreme Court cases," February 28, 2013
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Meet_Ellen
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ordoj
  9. Oregon Secretary of State, "Elections Division-Candidate Filing," accessed September 13, 2012
  10. KPIC.com, “Kitzhaber taps Rosenblum to take over for AG Kroger,” June 6, 2012
  11. New York Times, "Oregon Bedfellows Make for Strange Politics", February 11, 2015; retrieved February 11, 2015
  12. Governing, "Oregon AG Launches Criminal Investigation of Gov. Kitzhaber and His Fiancee," February 10, 2015
  13. Los Angeles Times, "Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber resigns amid ethics investigations," February 13, 2015
  14. 14.0 14.1 The Library of Congress, "Bill Text 113th Congress (2013-2014) S.528.IS," March 12, 2013
  15. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named agsletter
  16. The Boston Globe, "Attorney generals to Congress: Don’t let for-profit colleges use federal grants and loans for advertising," March 17, 2013
  17. Commonwealth of Kentucky Office of the Attorney General, "Letter to Congress," March 11, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 Oregon Department of Justice, "Press Release:Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum Announces adoption of laws for mortgage loan servicers," July 23, 2012
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 The Oregonian, "Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum takes practical steps on mortgages," July 23, 2012
  20. Oregon Live, "2012 General Election Results," November 7, 2012
  21. Oregon Secretary of State, "Elections Division-Candidate Filing," accessed September 13, 2012
  22. 22.0 22.1 Katu.com, "Local AG race raises questions about Measure 11," April 11, 2012
  23. Oregon Live, "Clint Didier returns to endorse Paul, and other political tidbits," February 16, 2012
  24. Oregon Live, "Oregon Attorney General race comes down to 2 Democrats: Dwight Holton and Ellen Rosenblum," March 8, 2012
  25. The Bend Bulletin via Rosenblum Campaign Site, "Campaign Press Release-The Bend Bulletin Endorses Ellen Rosenblum for AG," April 16, 2012
  26. Follow the Money, " Career fundraising for Ellen Rosenblum," accessed May 18, 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
John Kroger (D)
Attorney General of Oregon
Succeeded by