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Attorney General of Arkansas

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Arkansas

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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 all elected officeholders to fulfill the state's voter registration requirements -- being a U.S. citizen, a resident of Arkansas, at least 18 years old.

Additionally, felons or people judged mentally incompetent by a court may not be an elector. Other requirements to complete a voter registration form -- essentially, qualifications to be an elector -- are given by Amendment 59, Section 6 of the constitution.

After they have been elected, 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."

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 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, 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:
(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.[2]

Vacancies

When the office of attorney general becomes vacant "by death, resignation, or otherwise," the governor appoints a replacement to complete the unexpired term.[3]

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."[4]

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."[4]

Divisions

The attorney general's office includes several divisions, including:

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

Compensation

In 2010, the attorney general received compensation in the amount of $72,794.[5] 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.[6]

Electoral history

2006

2006 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary [7]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Dustin McDaniel 38.4% [8]
     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 [9]
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 [10]
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 [12]
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