Attorney General of Montana

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Montana Attorney General
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2014 FY Budget:  $86,649,146
Term limits:  Two terms in a 16 year period
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 1 the Executive Department
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Tim Fox.jpg
Name:  Tim Fox
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  January 7, 2013
Compensation:  $99,712
Next election:  November 8, 2016
Last election:  November 6, 2012
Other Montana Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of Public InstructionAgriculture DirectorInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources DirectorLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Attorney General of Montana is an elected constitutional position in the executive branch of the Montana state government. The attorney general is the state's chief legal officer, chief law enforcement officer and director of the Department of Justice. The attorney general also serves as a member of the Montana Land Board and the Board of Examiners. The attorney general has the authority to provide legal opinions to the state legislature; to state officers, boards or commissions; to city attorneys and to county commissioners and county attorneys. The attorney general also has supervisory authority over the state's 56 county attorneys and, at the request of local, state or federal law enforcement agencies, can investigate criminal violations of law.

Current officeholder

The current Attorney General is Tim Fox. He won election in 2012 and was sworn in on January 7, 2013.[1]


The state Constitution addresses the office of attorney general in Article VI, the Executive Department.

Under Article VI, Section I:

The executive branch includes a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general...


A candidate for attorney general must be:

  • at least 25 years of age or older at the time of election
  • a citizen of the United States
  • have resided within the state at least two years at his election
  • be an attorney in good standing admitted to practice in Montana and have been actively practicing for at least 5 years


Article VI of the Montana State Constitution stipulates that the attorney general is a publicly elected official who serves a term of four years. Terms begin the first Monday of January following election.


See also: Montana attorney general election, 2012

Incumbent Steve Bullock (D) did not run for re-election. Tim Fox (R) defeated Pam Bucy (R) in the November 6, 2012 general election.

Attorney General of Montana General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Pam Bucy 46.3% 218,228
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTim Fox 53.7% 252,916
Total Votes 471,144
Election Results via Montana Secretary of State.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits, State legislatures with term limits

Article VI of the Montana State Constitution stipulates that the attorney general is a publicly elected official who serves a term of four years. This statewide officer will, according to Article IV, Section 8, have served in that office or had he not resigned or been recalled would have served in that office 8 or more years in any 16-year period.


Details of vacancies are addressed under Article VI, Section 6.

If the attorney general's office is vacant due to death, resignation, or disability, the Governor shall appoint a new attorney general.


The state Constitution addresses the duties of the attorney general in Article VI, Section 4.

Under Article VI, Section 4(4):

The attorney general is the legal officer of the state and shall have the duties and powers provided by law.

Role in the initiative process

There are two main ways in which the Montana attorney general influences the initiative and referendum process. First, the attorney general works with the secretary of state and with the submittors of proposed ballot measures to ensure the legality of ballot language. Second, the attorney general can issue opinions offering interpretations about aspects of the initiative process about which there is some ambiguity--and these opinions have the force of the law.

Ballot text approval

After the ballot measure text has been approved, a copy goes to the attorney general's office to verify its legality. If the attorney general determines that a proposed issue is legally sufficient but that the ballot statements clearly do not comply with legal requirements, the attorney general prepares statements that comply with applicable requirements and forwards them to the Secretary of State. The review by the attorney general must be completed within 30 days of when the attorney general receives the draft petition.

The attorney general also writes an explanatory statement for all ballot measures that is published in the Voter Information Pamphlet (2006 example). The statement is required to be an impartial explanation of the purpose of the ballot measures. It is also required to be written using easy-to-understand language. Part of the explanatory statement includes "for" and "against" sections for each issue on the ballot. If necessary, the attorney general will also prepare a fiscal statement.


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 Montana 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.

State budget

The Department of Justice's budget for fiscal year 2014 was $86,649,146.[2]


The state Constitution addresses compensation of executive officials in Article VI, Section 5.

Under Article VI, Section 5(1):

Officers of the executive branch shall receive salaries provided by law.

In 2010, the Montana Attorney General was paid an estimated $89,602 according to the Council of State Governments.[3]

Historical officeholders

Since 1889 Montana has had 23 attorneys general.[4]

Recent news

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Contact Information

Attorney General Steve Bullock
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 201401
Helena, MT 59620-1401

Phone: 406-444-2026
Fax: 406-444-3549

See also

External links

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