Attorney General of Arkansas
The current attorney general is Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, 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.
The office of attorney general is established by Amendment 63 to Article 6 of the Arkansas Constitution.
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.
The Arkansas Constitution requires all elected or appointed officeholders to be an elector. That is, they must fulfill the state's voter registration requirements -- being a U.S. citizen, a resident of Arkansas, at least 18 years old. Felons and citizens judged to be mentally incompetent by a court are also ineligible to vote and, by extension, to hold office.
Other requirements to complete a voter registration form -- essentially, qualifications to be an elector -- are given by Amendment 59, Section 6 of the constitution.
Incumbents 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."
No persons shall be elected to, or appointed to fill a vacancy in, any office who does not possess the qualifications of an elector.
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, Amendment 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:
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.
Attorneys general, like all Arkansas executives, face an absolute limit of two terms in office.
Per Article 6, Section 22 of the Arkansas Constitution, when the office of attorney general becomes vacant "by death, resignation, or otherwise," the governor appoints a replacement to complete the unexpired term.
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."
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."
The attorney general's office includes several divisions, including:
- Civil Litigation
- Community Relations
- Criminal Litigation
In 2010, the attorney general received compensation in the amount of $72,794. The salaries of members of the state's executive department, 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.
Office of the Attorney General
323 Center Street, Suite 200
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Phone: (501) 682-2007
Toll Free Phone: (800) 482-8982
- Arkansas Constitution, "Amendment 63, Section 1" accessed June 17, 2011.
- Arkansas Constitution, "Amendment 73, Section 1b," accessed June 16, 2011.
- Arkansas Attorney General, "About the Office," accessed June 17, 2011.
- The Council of State Governments, "Book of the States 2010, Table 4.11," accessed May 20, 2011.
- Arkansas Constitution, "Amendment 70, Sections 1-3," accessed June 16, 2011.