Attorney General of Washington

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The Attorney General of Washington is an elected executive position in the Washington state government. As the chief legal officer for the state, the attorney general represents state clients and the public interest as directed by state law.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Bob Ferguson, a Democrat elected in 2012. He succeeded former Republican attorney general Rob McKenna on January 16, 2013.


Article 3 of the state constitution establishes the state's executive offices.

Article III, Section 2:

Executive Department. The executive department shall consist of a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, and a commissioner of public lands, who shall be severally chosen by the qualified electors of the state at the same time and place of voting as for the members of the legislature.


Under state law, the attorney general must be a qualified practitioner of the state supreme court.

Additionally, Article 3, Section 25 of the state constitution establishes the qualifications of state offices in general:

Qualifications, Compensation, Offices Which May Be Abolished. No person, except a citizen of the United States and a qualified elector of this state, shall be eligible to hold any state office...
  • a citizen of the United States
  • a qualified elector in Washington


In Washington, the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, and commissioner of public lands are elected every four years. Elections are held in November and winners assume office the following January, serving until their successors are elected and qualified.

Washington elects their state executives in presidential years (2012, 2016, and 2020).


See also: Washington attorney general election, 2012

Incumbent Rob McKenna chose to run for Governor of Washington rather than run for re-election as attorney general in 2012, and Bob Ferguson (D) won the open seat in the general election on November 6, 2012.

  • 2012 General Election Results for Washington Attorney General
Attorney General of Washington General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBob Ferguson 53.5% 1,564,443
     Republican Reagan Dunn 46.5% 1,361,010
Total Votes 2,925,453
Election Results via Washington Secretary of State.


In the event of a vacancy in this office, the governor shall fill the vacancy by appointment. The term of the appointee expires when a successor has been elected and qualified.


The specific duties of the attorney general are outlines in Chapter 43 of the Washington state laws:[1]

  1. Appear for and represent the state before the supreme court or the court of appeals in all cases in which the state is interested;
  2. Institute and prosecute all actions and proceedings for, or for the use of the state, which may be necessary in the execution of the duties of any state officer;
  3. Defend all actions and proceedings against any state officer or employee acting in his or her official capacity, in any of the courts of this state or the United States;
  4. Consult with and advise the several prosecuting attorneys in matters relating to the duties of their office, and when the interests of the state require, he or she shall attend the trial of any person accused of a crime, and assist in the prosecution;
  5. Consult with and advise the governor, members of the legislature, and other state officers, and when requested, give written opinions upon all constitutional or legal questions relating to the duties of such officers;
  6. Prepare proper drafts of contracts and other instruments relating to subjects in which the state is interested;
  7. Give written opinions, when requested by either branch of the legislature, or any committee thereof, upon constitutional or legal questions;
  8. Enforce the proper application of funds appropriated for the public institutions of the state, and prosecute corporations for failure or refusal to make the reports required by law;
  9. Keep in proper books a record of all cases prosecuted or defended by him or her, on behalf of the state or its officers, and of all proceedings had in relation thereto, and deliver the same to his or her successor in office;
  10. Keep books in which he or she shall record all the official opinions given by him or her during his or her term of office, and deliver the same to his or her successor in office;
  11. Pay into the state treasury all moneys received by him or her for the use of the state.


The office of the Washington Attorney General has 27 legal divisions located in 12 different cities across the state.

  • Agriculture & Health
  • Antitrust
  • Bankruptcy & Collections
  • Consumer Protection
  • Corrections
  • Criminal Justice
  • Ecology
  • Education
  • Fish, Wildlife & Parks
  • Government Compliance & Enforcement
  • Government Operations
  • Labor & Industries
  • Labor & Personnel
  • Licensing & Administrative Law
  • Natural Resources
  • Public Counsel
  • Regional Services
  • Revenue
  • Social & Health Services
  • Solicitor General
  • Torts
  • Transportation & Public Construction
  • University of Washington
  • Utilities & Transportation
  • Washington State University


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

In 2012, the Attorney General of Washington was paid an estimated $151,718 according to the Council of State Governments.

Article III, Section 21 of the state constitution initially set the annual salary of the attorney general at $2,000 but allowed for the state legislature to increase it.

Contact information

1125 Washington Street SE
PO Box 40100
Olympia, WA 98504-0100

Phone: (360) 753-6200

See also

External links

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