Attorney General of Kentucky

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Kentucky Attorney General
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $30,189,100
Term limits:  2 consecutive terms
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Kentucky Revised Statutes 15.010
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Jack Conway.jpg
Name:  Jack Conway
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  January 2007
Compensation:  $113,615
Next election:  November 2015
Last election:  November 8, 2011
Other Kentucky Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorCommissioner of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor Cabinet SecretaryPublic Service Commission
The Attorney General of Kentucky is an elected executive office in the Kentucky state government. The attorney general serves as the state's chief prosecutor, the state's chief law enforcement officer, and the state's chief law officer. As the chief prosecutor, the attorney general is the chairman of the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council, which supervises the prosecutors of Kentucky. As chief law officer, he writes opinions to advise government officials and agencies concerning the law. The attorney general holds an ex officio seat on various Kentucky state boards and agencies.

Current officeholder

The current Attorney General of Kentucky is Jack Conway, a Democrat, first elected in 2007. His first term ended in January 2012, and he won re-election in November 2011.[1] He unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 2008, losing in the general election to Republican Rand Paul.

Prior to becoming Attorney General, Conway was a private attorney for the firm of Conliffe Sandman and Sullivan. He also served for six years as a legal counsel and deputy cabinet secretary in the administration of former Kentucky Governor Paul Patton.[2] Conway is a native and resident of Louisville, KY, and took his B.A. from Duke University and his J.D. from George Washington University.

According to his official website, Conway has spearheaded several cyber-security initiatives as attorney general, including creating a cybercrimes unit to battle child pornography and solicitation of minors on the internet.[3]


The Kentucky attorney general's authority derives from state statute, which provides that "The Attorney General is head of the Department of Law."[4] Though the office of attorney general is specifically authorized by the state constitution, its authority is "prescribed by law," and thus does not require constitutional action to modify.


The Kentucky Constitution requires that the attorney general be at least thirty years old, a resident of Kentucky for two years before election, and must have practiced law for eight years.

Kentucky Constitution, Section 91:

A Treasurer, Auditor of Public Accounts, Commissioner of Agriculture, Labor and Statistics, Secretary of State, and Attorney-General, shall be elected by the qualified voters of the State at the same time the Governor and Lieutenant Governor are elected, for the term of four years, each of whom shall be at least thirty years of age at the time of his election, and shall have been a resident citizen of the State at least two years next before his election.

Kentucky Constitution, Section 92:

The Attorney-General shall have been a practicing lawyer eight years before his election.


The attorney general, like all Kentucky executive officers, is chosen in the year preceding a presidential election (e.g. 2003, 2007, 2011).[5] The incumbent is inaugurated on the first Monday in January after his election.[6] The attorney general of Kentucky is elected for a four-year term. A 1992 amendment to the Kentucky Constitution permits the attorney general of Kentucky to serve two consecutive terms. The attorney general appoints a deputy and various assistants attorney general, who have the power to act on his behalf.

Term limits

An attorney general only be elected to two consecutive terms and is ineligible to run for the four years following his second term.[7]


The Kentucky Constitution allows the Governor to fill vacancies in all state executive offices, including the Secretary of State. Temporary commissions to fill the office expire after the next election.[8]


The attorney general is the chief law officer, chief law enforcement officer, and legal adviser for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He provides legal counsel to state officials regarding their official duties on request and prepares legal instruments and documents for public use. He also represents the state of Kentucky or its officials and agencies in litigation.[9]

Beyond providing legal representation to the state, the attorney general oversees or participates in a variety of advisory or regulatory institutions. He is the chairman of the Kentucky Prosecutors Advisory Council, which establishes standards for Kentucky's district attorneys and the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council, which performs a similar role for state law enforcement.

Besides his advisory duties, the attorney general oversees the Department of Law, which has a mandate to "prevent or remedy damage to the environment" and to "enforce any statute, ordnance, bylaw or regulation." This encompasses the attorney general's direct prosecutorial duties as chief law and chief law enforcement officer of the state.[10] He may designate specific task forces devoted to different law enforcement issues, such as cyber-security, drug enforcement, or consumer protection.


The Department of Law, which the attorney general heads, has a number of divisions, including the:

  • Criminal Appellate Division
  • Consumer Protection Division
  • Special Investigations Division
  • Special Prosecutions Division
  • Prosecutors Advisory Council Services Division
  • Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Division
  • Civil and Environmental Law Division
  • Victims Advocacy Division
  • Child Support Enforcement Commission
  • Administrative Hearings Division
  • Office of Rate Intervention
  • Administrative Services Division
  • Financial Integrity Enforcement Division.

State budget

The Attorney General's budget for fiscal year 2013 was $30,189,100 .[11]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

In 2012, the Kentucky Attorney General was paid an estimated $113,615. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Salary for the office is determined by statute, not the state's constitution, as is automatically adjusted upwards every year to adjust for inflation. Besides inflation adjustments, the last increase in salary occurred in 1976.[12]

Campaign finance

Main article:Campaign finance requirements for Kentucky ballot measures

The Attorney General of Kentucky is responsible for all campaign finance disciplinary matters regardless if the alleged complaint involves civil or criminal laws. The first step in filing a campaign finance complaint is to file with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. It is up to the registry to determine if there is enough evidence by probable cause to refer the complaint to the Attorney General. [13]

Historical officeholders

Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the Attorney General of Kentucky has not yet been added because the information was unavailable on the relevant state official websites, or we are currently in the process of formatting the list for this office. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

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Contact information

Office of the Attorney General
Capitol Suite 118
700 Capitol Avenue
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601-3449

Phone: 502-696-5300
Fax: 502-564-2894

See also


External links

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