Attorney General of California
|California Attorney General|
|Office website:||Official Link|
|2012-2013 FY Budget:||$741,778,000|
|Term limits:||2 terms|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||California Constitution, Article 5, Section 11|
|Name:||Kamala D. Harris|
|Assumed office:||January 2011|
|Next election:||November 4, 2014|
|Last election:||November 2, 2010|
|Other California Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General • Treasurer • Auditor • Controller • Superintendent of Public Instruction • Agriculture Secretary • Insurance Commissioner • Natural Resources Secretary • Industrial Relations Director • Public Utilities Commission|
The officeholder also represents state agencies and officers in legal matters and provides legal advice on request. Further, the attorney general plays a direct role in law enforcement efforts and "coordinates statewide narcotics enforcement efforts, participates in criminal investigations and provides forensic science services, identification and information services and telecommunication support."
Additionally, attorneys general play a prominent policymaking role by "[establishing] and [operating] projects and programs to protect Californians from fraudulent, unfair, and illegal activities that victimize consumers or threaten public safety."
The current attorney general is Democrat Kamala D. Harris, who was first elected in November 2010 and assumed office on January 1, 2011. Harris will come up for re-election in November 2014 and is running for a second term.
Before becoming attorney general, Harris served two terms as district attorney for San Francisco. Prior to that, she was head of the San Francisco city attorney's Division on Families. Her first position in San Francisco law enforcement was as head of the San Francisco district attorney's Career Criminal Unit. Before coming to San Francisco, she was a deputy district attorney for neighboring Alameda County, where she specialized in prosecuting child sexual assault. Harris attended Hastings College of the Law at the University of California, and earned her bachelor's from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
The Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State, and Treasurer shall be elected at the same time and places and for the same term as the Governor.
State law requires that the attorney general be admitted to practice before the California Supreme Court for five years before election.
California Government Code, Section 12503
No person shall be eligible to the office of Attorney General unless he shall have been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the state for a period of at least five years immediately preceding his election or appointment to such office.
Additionally, each candidate for attorney general must:
- Be a registered voter
- Be registered with their party for at least three months
- Not have been registered with a different political party in the last 12 months
- Not have been previously term-limited out
Attorneys general are elected on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in federal midterm election years, e.g. 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018. Like all constitutional state officers, the attorney general assumes office on the first Monday in the new year following the election. Thus, January 3, 2011 and January 5, 2015 are inaugural days.
The Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, and Treasurer shall be elected at the same time and places and for the same term as the Governor. No Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State, or Treasurer may serve in the same office for more than 2 terms.
Attorneys general, like all state constitutional officers, face an absolute limit of two terms in office.
The vacancy procedure for the office of attorney general is determined by the Constitution. When a vacancy occurs, the governor nominates a replacement to serve the remainder of the term under the next election. The appointee must be confirmed by a majority of both house of the California legislature. Until the replacement is approved, the former officeholder's chief deputy exercises the office.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, or Attorney General, or on the State Board of Equalization, the Governor shall nominate a person to fill the vacancy who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority of the membership of the Senate and a majority of the membership of the Assembly and who shall hold office for the balance of the unexpired term. In the event the nominee is neither confirmed nor refused confirmation by both the Senate and the Assembly within 90 days of the submission of the nomination, the nominee shall take office as if he or she had been confirmed by a majority of the Senate and Assembly; provided, that if such 90-day period ends during a recess of the Legislature, the period shall be extended until the sixth day following the day on which the Legislature reconvenes.
The attorney general acts as the state's chief law officer and oversees the California Department of Justice. He or she supervises the state's district and city attorneys, as well as its law enforcement officers. The attorney general may personally prosecute any case that would normally be handled by a district or city attorney, and represents the state in all cases before the California Supreme Court. Additionally, the attorney general is responsible for issuing formal legal advice to state agencies and officers.
The attorney general also has a policymaking role in state law enforcement, and "establishes and operates projects and programs to protect Californians from fraudulent, unfair, and illegal activities that victimize consumers or threaten public safety." Examples include the Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse, Megan's Law (sex offenses), California's Most Wanted and Campaign Against Marijuana Planting programs.
He or she also fulfills a number of administrative duties, including preparing an annual report for the Governor of California on the state of his department, calling meetings of state law enforcement officers, and disposes of property forfeited to the state by court judgments.
Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for information that describes the divisions (if any exist) of a state executive office. That information for the Attorney General of California has not yet been added. After extensive research we were unable to identify any relevant information on state official websites. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.
The budget for the attorney general-led Department of Justice in the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year was $741,778,000.
In 2010, the attorney general received compensation in the amount of $151,127. The attorney general's salary, like that of all other state elected officials, is determined by the California Citizens Compensation Commission on an annual basis. The last time the attorney general's compensation was changed was 2009, when the office's salary and benefits were cut by 18 percent.
|2010 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary |
|Kamala Harris (D)||33.1%|
|Chris Kelly (D)||15.9%|
|Alberto Torrico (D)||14.9%|
|Ted Lieu (D)||10.5%|
|Rocky Delgadillo (D)||10.1%|
|Pedro Nava (D)||9.9%|
|Mike Schmier (D)||5.6%|
|2010 Race for Secretary of State - Republican Primary |
|Steve Cooley (R)||47.3%|
|John Eastman (R)||34.2%|
|Tom Harman (R)||18.5%|
|2006 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary |
|Jerry Brown (D)||63.3%|
|Rocky Delgadillo (D)||36.7%|
|2006 Race for Attorney General - General Election |
|Jerry Brown (D)||56.3%|
|Chuck Poochigian (R)||38.2%|
|Michael S. Wyman (Green)||2.3%|
|Kenneth A. Weissman (Libertarian)||2.1%|
|Jack Harrison (PF)||1.1%|
|List of Former
Officeholders from 1849-Present
|1||Edward J. C. Kewan||1849-1850||Democratic|
|2||James A. McDougall||1850-1852||Democratic|
|3||S. Clinton Hastings||1852-1854||Democratic|
|4||John R. McConnell||1854-1854||Democratic|
|5||William M. Stewart||1854-1856||Democratic|
|6||William T. Wallace||1856-1858||American Independent Party|
|7||Thomas H. Williams||1858-1862||Democratic|
|8||Frank M. Pixley||1862-1863||Republican|
|9||John G. McCullough||1863-1867||Republican Unionist|
|11||John Lord Love||1871-1875||Republican|
|13||Augustus L. Hart||1880-1883||Republican|
|14||Edward C. Marshall||1883-1883||Democratic|
|15||George A. Johnson||1883-1887||Democratic|
|16||Wm. H. H. Hart||1887-1891||Republican|
|17||William F. Fitzgerald||1891-1899||Republican|
|18||Tirey L. Ford||1899-1902||Republican|
|19||Ulysses S. Webb||1902-1939||Republican|
|21||Robert W. Kenny||1943-1947||Democratic|
|22||Fred N. Howser||1947-1951||Republican|
|23||Edmund G. Brown||1951-1959||Democratic|
|25||Thomas C. Lynch||1964-1971||Democratic|
|26||Evelle J. Younger||1971-1979||Republican|
|28||John Van de Kamp||1983-1991||Democratic|
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Attorney General's Office
California Department of Justice
Attention: Public Inquiry Unit
Post Office Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
- Governor: Jerry Brown (D)
- Lieutenant Governor: Gavin Newsom (D)
- Attorney General: Kamala D. Harris (D)
- Auditor of State: Elaine Howle
- Secretary of State: Debra Bowen (D)
- Secretary of Agriculture: Karen Ross
- Treasurer of State: Bill Lockyer (D)
- State of California Department of Justice, "About the AG," accessed June 24, 2011.
- California Constitution, "Article 5, Section 11," accessed June 23, 2011.
- California Government Code, "Part 2, Chapter 6, Article 1, Section 12503," accessed June 24, 2011.
- California Secretary of State, "Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for June 8, 2010 Primary Election... Attorney general, Controller, or Treasurer," accessed June 23, 2011.
- California Elections Code, "Sections 1001-1003," accessed June 23, 2011.
- California Constitution, "Article 5, Section 5b," accessed June 27, 2011.
- California Department of Finance, "Enacted Budget FY 2012-2013," accessed May 28, 2013
- Council of State Governments, "Book of the States 2010 -- Table 4.11," accessed June 23, 2011.
- California Secretary of State - 2010 Statewide Primary Election Results
- California Secretary of State - 2010 Statewide Primary Election Results
- CA Secretary of State: Vote 2006 - Primary Election Results
- CA Secretary of State: Vote 2006 - General Election Results
- National Governors Association, "History of California Constitutional Officers," accessed September 9, 2013