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Attorney General of North Dakota

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North Dakota Attorney General
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2011-2013 FY Budget:  $58,969,422
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  North Dakota Constitution, Article V, Section 2
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Wayne Stenehjem.jpg
Name:  Wayne Stenehjem
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  2001
Compensation:  $113,266
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Last election:  November 2, 2010
Other North Dakota Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service CommissionTax Commissioner
The Attorney General of North Dakota is an elected executive position in the North Dakota state government. The attorney general is the chief legal counsel and adviser to the state government. They act as the representative of the state, its interests and its people in legal proceedings, and issue opinions on questions of law.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Wayne Stenehjem. He was first elected in in 2000, and subsequently won re-election in 2004, 2006, and 2010.


The state Constitution establishes the office of attorney general in Article V, Section 2:

The qualified electors of the state at the times and places of choosing members of the legislative assembly shall choose a governor, lieutenant governor, agriculture commissioner, attorney general, auditor, insurance commissioner, three public service commissioners, secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction, tax commissioner, and treasurer. ...


Article V, Section 4 of the North Dakota Constitution establishes the qualifications to hold the office of attorney general:

To be eligible to hold an elective office established by this article, a person must be a qualified elector of this state, must be at least twenty-five years of age on the day of the election, and must have been a resident of this state for the five years preceding election to office. To be eligible to hold the office of governor or lieutenant governor, a person must be at least thirty years old on the day of the election. The attorney general must be licensed to practice law in this state.
  • qualified North Dakota voter
  • at least 25 years old
  • a resident of North Dakota for at least the five preceding years
  • licensed to practice law in North Dakota


The attorney general in North Dakota is popularly elected every four years, in midterm elections. For North Dakota, 2010, 2014, and 2018 are all attorney general election years. The term of office is four years.


Article V, Section 8 addresses vacancies in state executive offices. In the event of a vacancy, the governor nominates a successor who must be confirmed by the state senate. Once confirmed, the individual serves the remainder of the unexpired term.


As the chief legal officer in the state, the attorney general represents and defends the interests of North Dakota and its people in both civil and criminal actions. Chapter 54-12 of the North Dakota Century Code outlines the specific duties of the office:

  • represents the state before the supreme court in all cases in which the state is interested as a party
  • represents state officers, agencies, boards, and commissions
  • advises the governor, state officers, and state's attorneys
  • provides written opinions on all legal or constitutional questions not addressed in current state law
  • acts as the superintendent of the bureau of criminal investigation

Additionally, the attorney general is a member of the Board of University and School Lands, the Industrial Commission, the Drug and Alcohol Commission, the Judicial Council and the Pardon Advisory Board.


The office of the attorney general includes several divisions. Some are more administrative in nature, providing personnel, financial and information technology management support to the other divisions and the office overall. The divisions with duties specific to the duty of the attorney general are listed below:

  • The Bureau of Criminal Investigation Division offers assistance to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in criminal investigations, maintains the registries for criminal history and sex offenders, develops training for law enforcement officers, and educates the public on drug abuse.
  • The Civil Litigation Division represents North Dakota's state agencies, officials, and employees in civil matters.
  • The Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division protects consumers by enforcing North Dakota's consumer fraud laws, investigating and prosecuting fraud cases and educating the public about how to avoid falling victim to fraud.
  • The Crime Lab Division processes and analyzes physical evidence used in criminal proceedings.
  • The Criminal & Regulatory Division assists county attorneys, city attorneys, state and local enforcement agencies, and other state agencies in criminal proceedings.
  • The Fire Marshal Division manages emergency responses to hazardous materials incidents; enforces state laws for prevention fires, the transfer of combustible and explosives; and conducts inspections, investigations, training, and education programs.
  • The Gaming Division regulates charitable gaming in North Dakota.
  • The Licensing Division administers programs that license alcoholic beverage retailers, tobacco product dealers, transient merchants, fair boards, fireworks distributors, polygraph operators, cion-operated amusement device operators, charitable gaming organizations and gaming manufacturers and distributors.
  • The Lottery Division manages the state's lottery.
  • The Natural Resources and Indian Affairs Division provides counsel and litigation services for legal issues that arise involving agriculture, water, oil and gas, environment, game and fish, and state-owned lands and minerals. The division also advised state officials on Indian issues.
  • The State & Local Division offers general counsel legal services to state agencies and boards. All of the attorney general's official opinions are the responsibility of this office, along with the enforcement of open records laws.

State budget

The budget for the Attorney General's office in Fiscal Year 2011-2013 was $58,969,422.[1]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

In 2012, the North Dakota Attorney General was paid an estimated $113,266. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Contact Information

Office of the Attorney Genera;
State Capitol
600 E. Boulevard Ave.
Dept. 125
Bismarck, ND 58505

Phone: 701 328-2210
Toll Free Phone: 800 366-6888

Contact information for all divisions

See also

External links

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