John Kroger

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John Kroger
John Kroger.jpg
Oregon Attorney General
Former officeholder
In office
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2008
First electedNovember 4, 2008
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sYale University
Master'sYale University
J.D.Harvard Law
Place of birthOhio
ProfessionPresident of Reed College
Office website
John Kroger (born 1966 in Ohio) is the current President of Reed College and former Democratic Attorney General of Oregon. He was first elected attorney general in November 2008 and served in the position until June 29, 2012. He was succeeded by Ellen Rosenblum (D), who was appointed to serve out the remainder of his term following Kroger's resignation.


Although Kroger was born in Ohio, he spent most of his young life in Indiana and Texas. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1983 at the age of seventeen, serving in a Force Reconnaissance Companies (FORECON) unit, a special operations force providing pertinent military intelligence to the combined combat elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). He volunteered to go to Lebanon in the wake of the United States invasion of Grenada, but President Ronald Reagan withdrew United States forces following the 1983 Beirut barracks terrorist bombing attack before Kroger's unit could be transferred.

Upon graduating from Yale University, Kroger moved to Washington, D.C. in order to work as a legislative assistant to United States Representative Tom Foley (D-Washington-5) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York). He was appointed in 1991 to act as Bill Clinton's Deputy Policy Director for his 1992 presidential campaign. Following Clinton's victory, he served as part of the president-elect's transition team. For a short time during Clinton's inaugural year in office, Kroger was a senior policy analyst at the United States Treasury Department.

Shortly after obtaining his law degree from Harvard, he worked as a clerk for a federal appellate judge in Brooklyn, New York. Kroger later joined the United States Attorney's office there as a federal prosecutor. Kroger's first high-profile conviction was New York Mafia captain Gregory Scarpa, Jr., who was convicted of racketeering and multiple homicides after a five-week trial. Kroger also worked on drug trafficking cases, litigating against drug kingpin Juan "La Puma" Rodriguez and Colombian organized crime family boss Alphonse Persico.

In the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001, Kroger worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation running down leads on potential New York-based terrorist cells through the allocation of search warrants and subpoenas. A year later he moved to Oregon where he replaced the ailing criminal law professor Bill Williamson at the Lewis & Clark Law School. In his time there, he received the Award for Teaching Excellence three times.


  • Bachelor's degree, Yale University (1990) in philosophy
  • Master's degree, Yale University in philosophy
  • Juris Doctorate degree, Harvard Law School (1996)

Political career

Attorney General (2008-2012)

Kroger was elected Oregon's attorney general in November of 2008. In an announcement that surprised many of his colleagues in the Oregon Justice Department, Kroger announced October 18, 2011 he would not seek a second term in office in 2012. Kroger had recently been diagnosed with "a significant but non-life-threatening medical condition" and stated, "Though I believe very much in public service, my wife and I agree that my health and our family come first."[1]

Kroger vacated his position on June 29 to become president of Reed College in Portland.[2] After coordinating with Governor of Oregon John Kitzhaber on a plan to guarantee the office's coverage in the intervening period before his successor takes over in January, they decided to appoint 2012 Democratic nominee for attorney general Ellen Rosenblum to serve out the remainder of his term.[3]


Public records

Attorney General Kroger sent Oregon voters mixed signals in regards to keeping his campaign promise of improving governmental openness. Though he appointed one of his attorneys, Michael Kron, to serve as the public records 'czar' in an effort to facilitate a "statewide standard for releasing government documents," his office suggested that when it comes to criminal cases not only would Kroger not comment on them, he would not even confirm or deny open investigations on civil matters; a significant break with what had been done in the past. Some have said that this move "signals a loss of service for consumers."[4]

An interview Kroger gave with the Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) program, Think Out Loud, in December 2009 questioned his knowledge of the authority his office had to order agencies to do anything related to public records:

"Well, we are the legal adviser...In many cases I won't be able to order a state agency to release something. All I can do is tell them whether under the law whether we believe it should be released or not. In some cases, they may have a very solid argument for not releasing something that frankly I would prefer as a policy matter to release, so ultimately, I don't control the system."[5]

The Attorney General's Public Records and Meetings Manual, which Kroger made available online for free upon entering office, states without question that any individual who requests public records can appeal an agency's refusal to the attorney general, who "acts not as legal counsel for state agencies, but in a quasi-judicial role." In addition, the manual states further that "if the Attorney General orders the agency to disclose the record, the agency must comply with the order in full within seven days."[6]


Sued by veterans group

Kroger faced a court hearing in November in Eugene after an Oregon-based veterans group brought a case against him. The Oregon War Veterans Association was created in 2003 to “assist other, less active veteran organizations and veterans who do not belong to another established veteran service organization (VSO).”

OWVA works to serve other veteran service organizations in a “team effort to affect some of the systemic problems relating to the government’s benefits and services,” the website says.

The OWVA filed suit for a Permanent Injunction on October 22, 2010 against Kroger, in conjunction with a request for a Restraining Order. The restraining order was denied.

The OWVA said it is pursuing the suit to protect its private donors’ and members’ personal information from being released to the media through an audit performed by the Attorney General’s office.[7]



2008 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary[8]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg John Kroger (D) 55.8%
Greg Macpherson (D) 43.9%
Write Ins 0.3%
Total votes 508,954

On November 4, 2008, John R. Kroger won election to the office of Oregon Attorney General. He defeated James E. Leuenberger (C), J. Ashlee Albies (WF) and Walter F. Brown (PG) in the general election.

Oregon Attorney General, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn R. Kroger 72.6% 1,096,507
     Constitution James E. Leuenberger 11.2% 168,866
     Working Families J. Ashlee Albies 10.7% 161,655
     Pacific Green Walter F. Brown 5.1% 76,856
     Misc. Various 0.5% 7,047
Total Votes 1,510,931
Election Results Via: Oregon Secretary of State

Campaign contributions

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 John Kroger's donors each year.[9] Click [show] for more information.

Contact information


Capitol Address:
Department of Justice
1162 Court Street Northeast
Salem, OR 97301-4096

Phone: (503) 378-4400
Toll Free Phone: (800) 735-2900

See also

External links

Suggest a link


Political offices
Preceded by
Hardy Myers (D)
Attorney General of Oregon
2009 - 2012
Succeeded by
Ellen Rosenblum (D)