Attorney General of Illinois

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The Attorney General of Illinois is the highest legal officer of the state of Illinois. Originally an appointed office, it is now an office filled by election through universal suffrage. Based in Chicago and Springfield, he or she is responsible for providing legal counsel for the various state agencies including the Governor of Illinois and Illinois General Assembly. He or she also conducts all legal affairs pertaining to the state.

The position of Illinois attorney general was established on December 3, 1818 based on guidelines adopted by a state constitutional convention. The first person to fulfill the duties of the office was Daniel Pope Cook who only served eleven days. He was later elected to the Congress; Cook County was named in his honor.

Current officeholder

The current attorney general of Illinois is Lisa Madigan.[1] Prior to becoming an attorney, Madigan worked as a teacher and community organizer, developing after-school programs to help prevent young children from becoming involved in drugs and gangs. She also volunteered as a high school teacher in South Africa for a brief time during apartheid. Returning to the United States and receiving her law degree, Madigan served as a litigator for the Chicago-based law firm of Sachnoff & Weaver.


  • Bachelor's degree, Georgetown University (1988)
  • Juris Doctorate degree, Loyola University-Chicago School of Law


The attorney general's office is authorized by Article V, Section 1 of the Illinois Constitution.

Article V, Section 1

Officers: The Executive Branch shall include a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller and Treasurer elected by the electors of the State. They shall keep the public records and maintain a residence at the seat of government during their terms of office.


According to Article V, Section 2 of the state constitution, the attorney general shall hold office for four years beginning on the second Monday of January after their election and until their successors are qualified. They shall be elected at the general election in 1978 and every four years thereafter.


Here is a list of the standard qualifications necessary under Illinois State Law in order to be considered for the Office of State Attorney General:


The job of the attorney general is to:[2]

  • Advocate on behalf of all of the people of Illinois;
  • Legislate with members of the General Assembly for new laws; and
  • Litigate to ensure state laws are followed and respected.

As per the Illinois Constitution, the "attorney general shall be the legal officer of the State, and shall have the duties and powers that may be prescribed by law."(Illinois Constitution, Article V § 15)


The Illinois Attorney General's Office has 11 division areas of service:[3]

Campaign finance

Main article: Campaign finance requirements for Illinois ballot measures

The Attorney General of Illinois is responsible for prosecuting campaign finance complaints on a case by case basis. Campaign finance reports can be referred to the Attorney General at any time regardless if it involves criminal or civil law from the Illinois State Board of Elections. [4]

Electoral history


2002 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary [5]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Lisa Madigan 58.2%
     Democratic Party John Schmidt 41.8%
Total Votes 1,199,440
2002 Race for Attorney General - General Election [6]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Lisa Madigan 50.4%
     Republican Party Joe Birkett 47.1%
     Libertarian Party Gary L. Shilts 2.5%
Total Votes 3,498,901


2006 Race for Attorney General - General Election [8]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Lisa Madigan 72.4%
     Republican Party Stewart Umholtz 24.3%
     Green Party David Black 3.3%
Total Votes 3,479,812


See also: Illinois Attorney General election, 2010

Democratic Primary

Republican Primary

General Election

2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election [9]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Lisa Madigan 64.7%
     Republican Party Stephen H. Kim 31.6%
     Green Party David Black 2.2%
     Libertarian Party William Malan 1.5%
Total Votes 3,704,686

Former officeholders

Since 1819, Illinois has had 41 attorneys general.[10]

Click "show" for former officeholders.[11]

Contact Info


Capitol Address:
Office of Attorney General
100 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: (312) 814-3000
Toll Free Phone: (800) 964-3013

See also

External links