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Attorney General of Virginia

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The Attorney General of Virginia is a publicly elected executive official in the Virginia state government. The attorney general provides legal advice and representation for all state agencies. Additionally, the attorney general provides written legal advice in the form of official opinions to members of the General Assembly and government officials.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Ken Cuccinelli. He was first elected in 2009, and in late 2012 announced he would run for Governor of Virginia in 2013.


The office of the Virginia Attorney General is established in Article 5, Section 15 of the state constitution.

Article X, Section Y:

An Attorney General shall be elected by the qualified voters of the Commonwealth at the same time and for the same term as the Governor; and the fact of his election shall be ascertained in the same manner...


Article V, Section 16 of the Virginia Constitution also establishes the qualifications of the office:

...No person shall be eligible for election or appointment to the office of Attorney General unless he is a citizen of the United States, has attained the age of thirty years, and has the qualifications required for a judge of a court of record...
  • U.S. citizen
  • at least 30 years old
  • is qualified to be a judge of a court of record in the state


The attorney general is elected every four years at the same time the governor is elected. These elections take place one year after the presidential elections. In Virginia, 2009, 2013 and 2017 are all election years for the attorney general.[1]

Term limits

According to the state constitution, "There shall be no limit on the terms of the Attorney General."[2]


In the event of a vacancy in the office, the governor shall fill the vacancy by appointment. The appointee shall hold office until the next general election.


The duties and powers of the office of the attorney general include:[3]

  • Provide legal advice and representation to the Governor and executive agencies, state boards and commissions, and institutions of higher education. The advice commonly includes help with personnel issues, contracts, purchasing, regulatory and real estate matters and the review of proposed legislation. The Office also represents those agencies in court.
  • Provide written legal advice in the form of official opinions to members of the General Assembly and government officials.
  • Defend criminal convictions on appeal, and defend the state when prisoners sue concerning their incarceration.
  • Defend the constitutionality of state laws when they are challenged in court.
  • Enforce state laws that protect businesses and consumers when there are violations. Individual consumer complaints are usually handled by another agency.
  • Represent consumers in utility matters before the State Corporation Commission.
  • Collect debts owed to state agencies, hospitals and universities.
  • Conduct or assist criminal investigations and prosecutions in certain limited cases (for example Medicaid fraud, money laundering, theft of state property, environmental crimes, and computer crimes).
  • Represent the Department of Social Services in its efforts to collect child support on behalf of children and families.
  • Supervise the appointment and payment of private attorneys hired by other state agencies for various matters.
  • Assist victims of crime who are following criminal cases at the appellate level.
  • Provide information to the public on Identity Theft prevention and remediation.
  • Administer grants to help reduce crimes involving gangs, drugs and sex predators.
  • Administer the Sexually Violent Predator Civil Commitment Program to protect children from the most dangerous predators.

A complete list of the duties of the office is outlined in the Virginia state code.[4]

Campaign finance

Main article: Campaign finance requirements for Virginia ballot measures

In Virginia, the State Attorney General is responsible for all disciplinary matters of the state's campaign finance laws. The first step in filing a complaint is to file with the Virginia Board of Elections. The Board of Elections refers all campaign finance complaints to the Virginia Attorney General for prosecution. [5]


In 2011, the Virginia Attorney General was paid an estimated $150,000, according to the Council of State Governments.[6]

Contact information


Office of the Attorney General
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Phone: 804-786-2071

See also

External links

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