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Attorney General of Massachusetts

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Massachusetts Attorney General
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $43,735,434
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Title 2, Chapter 12, Section 1 of the General Laws of Massachusetts
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Martha Coakley.jpg
Name:  Martha Coakley
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  January 17, 2007
Compensation:  $133,644
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Last election:  November 2, 2010
Other Massachusetts Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSecretary of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerSecretary of Energy and Environmental AffairsSecretary of Labor and Workforce DevelopmentPublic Utilities Commission
The Attorney General of Massachusetts is the chief law enforcement officer and lawyer for the state. He or she is publicly elected in midterm election years, and oversees the five bureaus which make up the Department of the Attorney General: Executive, Business and Labor Protection, Criminal, Government, and Public Protection.[1]

Current officeholder

The current Massachusetts Attorney General is Martha Coakley. When Coakley took her oath of office on January 17, 2007 as the Attorney General of Massachusetts, she became the first woman in state history to serve in the office. Her term expires in 2015.[1]


The position of attorney general is established in Title 2, Chapter 12, Section 1 of the General Laws of Massachusetts:

"There shall be a department of the attorney general, under his supervision and control, organized as provided in this chapter."[2]


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

  • Candidates for office must be:
  • eighteen years of age
  • a citizen of the United States for at least five years
  • "The attorney general shall be a member of the bar of the commonwealth"[3] (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 12, § 1)


Massachusetts state government organizational chart

Massachusetts elects attorneys general in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not Presidential election years. For Massachusetts, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018 are all attorney general election years.


See also: Massachusetts Attorney General election, 2010
Massachusetts Attorney General, General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMartha Coakley Incumbent 62.8% 1,417,538
     Republican James P. McKenna 37.2% 839,274
Total Votes 2,256,812
Election Results via [1]


If the office of the attorney general becomes vacant during annual or special session of the general court, the public elects a successor, otherwise, "it shall be supplied by the governor by appointment, with the advice and consent of the council."[4]


  • Ballot Text and Legality:

Unlike most states, who mandate that proponents of an initiative must first file with the Secretary of Commonwealth, Massachusetts guidelines have a ballot first be submitted to the attorney general.

At least 10 qualified voters must submit their contact information, certificate of voter registration and the full text of the ballot.

The attorney general bears the responsibility of determining whether the petition is an acceptable subject of the initiative, and if so, he or she prepares a concise summary and returns this summary and the proposed law to the petitioners. If the attorney general determines the petition relates to an excluded matter, the petition is disallowed.

If the ballot passes review it will then be returned to the proponents who may then submit it to the secretary of commonwealth (also known as the secretary of state).


There are five bureaus in the Attorney General's Office: Executive, Business and Labor Protection, Criminal, Government, and Public Protection.[1]

State budget

The Office of the Attorney General's budget for the 2013 fiscal year was $43,735,434.[5]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers


In 2013, the Attorney General's salary remained at $133,644.[6]


In 2012, the Attorney General of Massachusetts was paid an estimated $133,644 according to the Council of State Governments.[7]

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 Massachusetts 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.

Recent news

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Contact information

One Exchange Place
Worcester, MA 01608

Phone: 508-792-7600
Toll Free Phone: 617-727-4765
Fax: 508-795-1991

See also

External links

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