Difference between revisions of "Attorney General of Arkansas"

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{{Stategov}}{{TOCnestright}}The '''Attorney General of Arkansas''' is an executive position and constitutional officer within the [[Arkansas]] government. The [[Attorney General]] is chief law enforcement and legal officer and lawyer for Arkansas. The position has a candidate of a particular party Republican or the Democratic who is elected every four years e.g. 2006, 2002 along with the [[AR Governor - Mike Beebe|Governor]].
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{{Arkansas SEO infobox}}{{TOCnestright}}The '''Attorney General of Arkansas''' is an executive position and constitutional officer within the [[Arkansas]] government. The attorney general is chief law enforcement officer of the state of Arkansas. He or she serves as legal representation for state agencies and officers, provides official opinions on legal issues, and represents the state in criminal appeals. The attorney general also represents Arkansas Medicaid in cases of fraud and neglect and pursues violations of consumer protection law.
  
The current officeholder is [[Dustin McDaniel]].  He succeeded [[Mike Beebe]] in the position.
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==Current officeholder==
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The current attorney general is [[Dustin McDaniel]], who was first elected in November 2006 and took office in January 2007, succeeding newly elected [[Governor of Arkansas|Governor]] [[Mike Beebe]]. He was re-elected in 2010 and will be constitutionally term-limited out when his current term expires in January 2015.  
  
==Divisions==
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Before becoming attorney general, McDaniel was a partner in the law firm of McDaniel and Wells, P.A. He also served one term in the [[Arkansas House of Representatives]], from 2005 to 2007. Currently, he serves as chair of the southern region of the National Association of Attorneys General and co-chair of the Democratic Association of Attorneys General. He was formerly a police officer in his hometown of Jonesboro, AR. McDaniel received his bachelor's and J.D. from the University of Arkansas. He and his wife, Bobbi, have three children.
'''The Attorney General oversees several departments which include:'''
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*Civil Department: civil litigation and state agencies
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*Communications/Media
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*Community Relations: Crime Victims program, Missing Children's Services, Law Education Program, Keys to Safety Program, Youth Suicide Prevention
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*Criminal Department: State briefs, Habeas Corpus
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*Medicaid Department: Fraud
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*Opinions Department
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:*This department is the most crucial to the [[initiative and referendum]] process and is detailed below.
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*Public Protection Department: Consumer protection, utilities, environment, antitrust
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==Ballot Text and Legality==
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==Authority==
Any member of the public may propose an initiative in [[Arkansas]].The specific steps that must be followed are outlined in detail here: [[Arkansas Initiative and Referendum Law]].  
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The office of attorney general is established by Amendment 63 to Article 6 of the Arkansas Constitution.<ref name="Amendment63">[http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/Summary/ArkansasConstitution1874.pdf ''Arkansas Constitution'', "Amendment 63, Section 1" accessed June 17, 2011.]</ref>
  
Proponents of the [[initiative]] must submit the original draft of the ballot to the Arkansas Attorney General. Attach to the draft the proposed legislative or ballot title and popular name. The Attorney General then has 10 days to approve and certify the ballot title and popular name or substitute and certify a more suitable title and name. If the Attorney General refuses to act, sponsors can apply to the Supreme Court for proper relief.
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'''Constitution of Arkansas, Amendment 63'''  
:* In 1999 a law was enacted that any Arkansas taxpayer and voter may submit a written request to the Secretary of State to challenge the legal sufficiency of a statewide initiative petition. Within 30 days, the Secretary of State will consult with the Attorney General and then issue a declaration about whether the ballot title of the measure is fair and complete and whether it would violate any state constitutional provision or any federal constitutional, statutory or regulatory provision, or would be invalid for any other reason. The petitioner, sponsor, or Arkansas taxpayer may petition the Arkansas Supreme Court about the ruling within 15 days of the Secretary of State's declaration.
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The Attorney General also writes an explanatory statement for all ballot measures that is published in the Voter Information Pamphlet. The statement is required to be an impartial explanation of the purpose of the ballot measures. It is also required to be written using easy-to-understand language.
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{| style="width:60%; background:#F08080; margin-top:.1em; border:.5px solid #cccccc; solid;"
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|color:#000"|
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|-
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|
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''The Executive Department of this State shall consist of a Governor, Lieutenant Governor,
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Secretary of State, Treasurer of State, Auditor of State, Attorney General and Commissioner of State Lands, all of whom shall keep their offices at the seat of government, and hold their offices for the term of four (4) years, and until their successors are elected and qualified.''
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|-
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|}
  
==Attorney's Opinions==
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==Qualifications==
The Attorney General is responsible for preparing formal, written opinions to the Governor, members of the General Assembly, prosecuting attorneys, heads of executive departments of the state, heads of state boards and commissions, and county boards of election commissioners on questions which pertain to their official actions or duties.  
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The Arkansas Constitution requires candidates for attorney general to fulfill the state's voter registration requirements -- being a U.S. citizen, a resident of Arkansas, at least 18 years old. Additionally, electors may not have been judged mentally incompetent by a court. Felons are also prohibited from voting. Requirements to complete a voter registration form -- essentially, qualifications to be an elector -- are given by Amendment 59, Section 6 of the constitution. Additionally, attorneys general may not hold any other state, federal, or civil office, and may not have ever been convicted of "embezzlement of public money, bribery, forgery, or other infamous crime."<ref>[http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/Summary/ArkansasConstitution1874.pdf ''Arkansas Constitution'', "Article 19, Section 3; Article 51, Section 6; Article 5, Section 9," accessed June 16, 2011.]</ref>
  
The Department is also responsible for initial approval of interlocal cooperation agreements responding to requests for Opinion pertaining to personnel records within three business days under the Freedom of Information Act and approval of popular names and [[ballot]] titles.
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'''Constitution of Arkansas, Article 5, Section 9'''
  
The Attorney General does not write opinions for private citizens, other private entities, or to local officials.  Also the Opinions Department personnel only address official requests.
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{| style="width:60%; background:#F08080; margin-top:.1em; border:.5px solid #cccccc; solid;"
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|color:#000"|
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|-
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|
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''No person hereafter convicted of embezzlement of public money, bribery, forgery or other
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infamous crime, shall be eligible to the General Assembly or capable of holding any office of
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trust or profit in this State.''
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|}
  
===Opinion Department===
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'''Constitution of Arkansas, Article 19, Section 3'''
The Opinion's Department [http://www.ag.state.ar.us/press_room_opinions_information_purpose.html Statement of Purpose] is as follows:
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"The Arkansas Attorney General is charged by statute with the responsibility of providing written legal opinions requested by state officials. This includes constitutional officers, members of the General Assembly, prosecuting attorneys, heads of executive departments of the State, and heads of state boards and commissions. A.C.A. § 25-16-706. The purpose of the Opinions Department is to assist in fulfilling this statutory duty by preparing drafts of formal, written opinions. In addition to those mentioned above, opinions are also issued to county boards of election commissioners on election law questions. The Opinions Department is also responsible for approval of interlocal cooperation agreements, approval of popular names and ballot titles for initiatives and referenda of statewide impact, and responses to requests for opinions concerning the application of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") pertaining to the release of certain public employment records. While opinions of the Attorney General do not constitute binding law or precedent, they do provide a significant source of legal interpretation, often with respect to questions that have not been addressed elsewhere."
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{| style="width:60%; background:#F08080; margin-top:.1em; border:.5px solid #cccccc; solid;"
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|color:#000"|
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|-
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|
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''No persons shall be elected to, or appointed to fill a vacancy in, any office who does not possess
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the qualifications of an elector.''
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|}
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'''Constitution of Arkansas, Article 51, Section 6'''
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{| style="width:60%; background:#F08080; margin-top:.1em; border:.5px solid #cccccc; solid;"
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|color:#000"|
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|-
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|
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''(6) The mail voter registration application form shall include the following questions along with
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boxes for the applicant to check "yes" or "no" in response:<br>
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(A) "Are you a citizen of the United States of America and an Arkansas resident?";<br>
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(B) "Will you be eighteen (18) years of age on or before election day?";<br>
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(C) "Are you presently adjudged mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction?";<br>
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(D) "Have you ever pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to, or found guilty of a felony without
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your sentence having been discharged or pardoned?"; and<br>
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(E) "Do you claim the right to vote in another county or state?".<br>
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(7) The mail voter registration application form shall include the following statements
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immediately following the questions asked in subdivision (a)(6) of this section:<br>
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(A) "If you checked "No" in response to either questions A or B, do not complete this form.";<br>
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(B) "If you checked "Yes" in response to one or more of questions C, D, or E, do not complete
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this form."; and''
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|}
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==Elections==
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Arkansans elect their attorneys general for four year terms during federal midterm election years (2006, 2010, 2014, etc.). Attorneys general, like all Arkansas executives, served two year terms until 1982, when Amendment 63 to the [[state constitution|Constitution of Arkansas]] increased the term length to its current level. The first elections held under the new system occurred in 1986, and every four years since.<ref name="Amendment63"/>
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===Term limits===
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Attorneys general, like all Arkansas executives, face an absolute limit of two terms in office.<ref>[http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/Summary/ArkansasConstitution1874.pdf ''Arkansas Constitution'', "Amendment 73, Section 1b," accessed June 16, 2011.]</ref>
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==Vacancies==
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When the office of attorney general becomes vacant "by death, resignation, or otherwise," the governor appoints a replacement to complete the unexpired term.<ref>[http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/Summary/ArkansasConstitution1874.pdf ''Arkansas Constitution'', "Article 6, Section 22," accessed June 16, 2011.]</ref>
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==Duties==
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The office of attorney general's duties include representing state agencies and officers in court and providing them with legal advice and opinions related to their official duties. The attorney general also enforces state consumer protection, antitrust and environmental law. He or she pursues fraud cases regarding the state Medicaid program and handles "all criminal appeals and habeas corpus cases on behalf of the state."<ref name="About">[http://www.ag.arkansas.gov/about_office.html ''Arkansas Attorney General'', "About the Office," accessed June 17, 2011.]</ref>
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The attorney general's office also administers several public service programs, including the Crime Victims Reparations Program, which "assists victims of crime by providing financial assistance to eligible individuals or their dependents." Other initiatives include "Smart Choices, Better Chances," a juvenile law-education program and the Arkansas Missing Children Services Program, "which works to protect the children of our state by serving as a statewide clearinghouse for missing-and-exploited children."<ref name="About"/>
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==Divisions==
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The Attorney General oversees several departments which include:
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*Civil Litigation
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*Communications/Media
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*Community Relations
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*Criminal Litigation
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*Medicaid
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*Opinions
  
The Opinions Department is charged with the responsibility of responding to all the above requests in a timely and professional manner. Requests pertaining to personnel records under the FOIA must be answered within three working days, approval of popular names and ballot titles must be answered within ten working days, and the Department attempts to answer all other opinion requests within thirty days of receipt."
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==Compensation==
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In 2010, the attorney general received compensation in the amount of $72,794.<ref>[http://knowledgecenter.csg.org/drupal/system/files/Table_4.11.pdf ''The Council of State Governments'', "Book of the States 2010, Table 4.11," accessed May 20, 2011.]</ref> The salaries of state officers, including the secretary, are determined by the state constitution. A majority vote of all legislators and a voter referendum is required to change the compensation executive officials receive. However, salaries are automatically increased every year in line with increases in inflation as represented by the Consumer Price Index.<ref>[http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/Summary/ArkansasConstitution1874.pdf ''Arkansas Constitution'', "Amendment 70, Sections 1-3," accessed June 16, 2011.]</ref>
  
 
==Electoral history==
 
==Electoral history==
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==See also==
 
==See also==
*[[Dustin McDaniel|Dustin McDaniel, Attorney General of Arkansas]]
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*[[Dustin McDaniel]]
*[[Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas]]
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*[[Arkansas Secretary of State]]
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==External links==
 
==External links==
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{{Arkansas}}
 
{{Arkansas}}
 
[[Category:Arkansas]]
 
[[Category:Arkansas]]
[[Category:State Attorneys General]]
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[[Category:Arkansas state executive offices]]
[[Category:State government articles]]
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[[Category:Offices of the American attorneys general]]

Revision as of 10:25, 17 June 2011

Arkansas

Arkansas State Executives
GovernorLieutenant Governor
Secretary of StateAttorney General
TreasurerAuditor
Commissioner of Education

Agriculture Secretary
Insurance Commissioner
Natural Resources Exec. Director
Labor Director
Public Service Commission
The Attorney General of Arkansas is an executive position and constitutional officer within the Arkansas government. The attorney general is chief law enforcement officer of the state of Arkansas. He or she serves as legal representation for state agencies and officers, provides official opinions on legal issues, and represents the state in criminal appeals. The attorney general also represents Arkansas Medicaid in cases of fraud and neglect and pursues violations of consumer protection law.

Current officeholder

The current attorney general is Dustin McDaniel, who was first elected in November 2006 and took office in January 2007, succeeding newly elected Governor Mike Beebe. He was re-elected in 2010 and will be constitutionally term-limited out when his current term expires in January 2015.

Before becoming attorney general, McDaniel was a partner in the law firm of McDaniel and Wells, P.A. He also served one term in the Arkansas House of Representatives, from 2005 to 2007. Currently, he serves as chair of the southern region of the National Association of Attorneys General and co-chair of the Democratic Association of Attorneys General. He was formerly a police officer in his hometown of Jonesboro, AR. McDaniel received his bachelor's and J.D. from the University of Arkansas. He and his wife, Bobbi, have three children.

Authority

The office of attorney general is established by Amendment 63 to Article 6 of the Arkansas Constitution.[1]

Constitution of Arkansas, Amendment 63

The Executive Department of this State shall consist of a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer of State, Auditor of State, Attorney General and Commissioner of State Lands, all of whom shall keep their offices at the seat of government, and hold their offices for the term of four (4) years, and until their successors are elected and qualified.

Qualifications

The Arkansas Constitution requires candidates for attorney general to fulfill the state's voter registration requirements -- being a U.S. citizen, a resident of Arkansas, at least 18 years old. Additionally, electors may not have been judged mentally incompetent by a court. Felons are also prohibited from voting. Requirements to complete a voter registration form -- essentially, qualifications to be an elector -- are given by Amendment 59, Section 6 of the constitution. Additionally, attorneys general may not hold any other state, federal, or civil office, and may not have ever been convicted of "embezzlement of public money, bribery, forgery, or other infamous crime."[2]

Constitution of Arkansas, Article 5, Section 9

No person hereafter convicted of embezzlement of public money, bribery, forgery or other infamous crime, shall be eligible to the General Assembly or capable of holding any office of trust or profit in this State.

Constitution of Arkansas, Article 19, Section 3

No persons shall be elected to, or appointed to fill a vacancy in, any office who does not possess the qualifications of an elector.

Constitution of Arkansas, Article 51, Section 6

(6) The mail voter registration application form shall include the following questions along with boxes for the applicant to check "yes" or "no" in response:
(A) "Are you a citizen of the United States of America and an Arkansas resident?";
(B) "Will you be eighteen (18) years of age on or before election day?";
(C) "Are you presently adjudged mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction?";
(D) "Have you ever pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to, or found guilty of a felony without your sentence having been discharged or pardoned?"; and
(E) "Do you claim the right to vote in another county or state?".
(7) The mail voter registration application form shall include the following statements immediately following the questions asked in subdivision (a)(6) of this section:
(A) "If you checked "No" in response to either questions A or B, do not complete this form.";
(B) "If you checked "Yes" in response to one or more of questions C, D, or E, do not complete this form."; and

Elections

Arkansans elect their attorneys general for four year terms during federal midterm election years (2006, 2010, 2014, etc.). Attorneys general, like all Arkansas executives, served two year terms until 1982, when Amendment 63 to the Constitution of Arkansas increased the term length to its current level. The first elections held under the new system occurred in 1986, and every four years since.[1]

Term limits

Attorneys general, like all Arkansas executives, face an absolute limit of two terms in office.[3]

Vacancies

When the office of attorney general becomes vacant "by death, resignation, or otherwise," the governor appoints a replacement to complete the unexpired term.[4]

Duties

The office of attorney general's duties include representing state agencies and officers in court and providing them with legal advice and opinions related to their official duties. The attorney general also enforces state consumer protection, antitrust and environmental law. He or she pursues fraud cases regarding the state Medicaid program and handles "all criminal appeals and habeas corpus cases on behalf of the state."[5]

The attorney general's office also administers several public service programs, including the Crime Victims Reparations Program, which "assists victims of crime by providing financial assistance to eligible individuals or their dependents." Other initiatives include "Smart Choices, Better Chances," a juvenile law-education program and the Arkansas Missing Children Services Program, "which works to protect the children of our state by serving as a statewide clearinghouse for missing-and-exploited children."[5]

Divisions

The Attorney General oversees several departments which include:

  • Civil Litigation
  • Communications/Media
  • Community Relations
  • Criminal Litigation
  • Medicaid
  • Opinions

Compensation

In 2010, the attorney general received compensation in the amount of $72,794.[6] The salaries of state officers, including the secretary, are determined by the state constitution. A majority vote of all legislators and a voter referendum is required to change the compensation executive officials receive. However, salaries are automatically increased every year in line with increases in inflation as represented by the Consumer Price Index.[7]

Electoral history

2006

2006 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary [8]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Dustin McDaniel 38.4% [9]
     Democratic Party Paul Suskie 32.0%
     Democratic Party Robert Leo Herzfeld 29.6%
Total Votes 271,782
2006 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary Run-off [10]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Dustin McDaniel 50.8%
     Democratic Party Paul Suskie 49.2%
Total Votes 171,334
2006 Race for Attorney General - General Election [11]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Dustin McDaniel 58.5%
     Republican Party Gunner DeLay 37.1%
     Green Party Rebekah Kennedy 4.4%
Total Votes 758,460

2010

See also: Arkansas Attorney General election, 2010
2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election [13]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Dustin McDaniel 72.8%
     Green Party Rebekah Kennedy 26.8%
     Write-In Marc Rosson 0.4%
Total Votes 722,814

Contact Information

Arkansas

Capitol Address:
Office of the Attorney General
323 Center Street, Suite 200
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

Phone: (501) 682-2007
Toll Free Phone: (800) 482-8982

See also

External links

References