Attorney General of Wisconsin
The current officeholder is J.B. Van Hollen. He was first elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010.
The attorney general's office is authorized by Chapter 15.25 of the Wisconsin state code.
|Department of justice; creation. There is created a department of justice under the direction and supervision of the attorney general.|
There are no formal qualifications to hold this office.
According to Article 6 of the state constitution, the attorney general is elected every four years, in mid-term election years, to a four-year term. In Wisconsin, the attorney general is elected in 2010, 2014, and 2018.
Chapter 17.19(4) of the Wisconsin state code addresses vacancies in the office of attorney general. In the event of a vacancy for any reason, the governor shall appoint a successor to serve until a special election can be held. If no such election is held, the appointee holds office for the remainder of the unexpired term. 
The department of justice provides legal advice and representation for various state officers and agencies in civil cases and criminal cases in the state's appellate courts.
The specific duties of the attorney general are outlined in Chapter 165.015 of the Wisconsin state code.
Chapter 165.015 - Duties. The attorney general shall:
- Give opinion to officers. Give his or her opinion in writing, when required, without fee, upon all questions of law submitted to him or her by the legislature, either house thereof or the senate or assembly committee on organization, or by the head of any department of state government.
- Protect trust funds. Examine all applications for loans from any of the trust funds, and furnish to the commissioners of public lands his or her opinion in writing as to the regularity of each such application, and also of the validity of any bonds or other securities purchased for the benefit of such funds.
- Certify bonds. Examine a certified copy of all proceedings preliminary to any issue of state bonds or notes, and, if found regular and valid, endorse on each bond or note his or her certificate of such examination and validity. The attorney general shall also make similar examinations and certificates respecting municipal bonds in the cases specified in s. 67.025.
- Keep statement of fees. Keep a detailed statement of all fees, including his or her fees as commissioner of public lands, received by him or her during the preceding year, and file such statement with the department of administration on or before June 30 in each year.
- Report to legislature. Upon request of the legislature or either house thereof, submit a report upon any matters pertaining to the duties of his or her office to the chief clerk of each house of the legislature, for distribution to the legislature under s. 13.172 (2).
- Perform other duties. Perform all other duties imposed upon the attorney general by law.
The office of the attorney general is divided into four divisions and one office:
- The Division of Criminal Investigation investigates crimes that are statewide in nature or of particular import.
- The Division of Law Enforcement Services provides technical assistance and training to state and local law enforcement agencies.
- The Division of Legal Services provides legal advice and representation to the governor, state legislature, other state officers and agencies, district attorneys, and county corporation counsels. The following specialized legal units are housed in this division:
- Civil litigation
- Criminal appeals
- Criminal litigation, antitrust, consumer protection, and public integrity
- Environmental protection
- State programs, administration & revenue
- Medicaid fraud control and elder abuse unit
- The Division of Management Services provides operational support to the department.
- The Office of Crime Victim Services provides assistance to victims and witnesses of crimes.
Since 1848, Wisconsin has had 42 attorneys general. Bronson C. LaFollette served twice, non-consecutively.
Click "show" for former officeholders.
|#||Name||Took office||Left office||Party|
|1||James S. Brown||1848||1850||Democratic|
|2||S. Park Coon||1850||1852||Democratic|
|4||George B. Smith||1854||1856||Democratic|
|5||William R. Smith||1856||1858||Democratic|
|7||James H. Howe||1860||1862||Republican|
|9||Charles R. Gill||1866||1870||Republican|
|10||Stephen Steele Barlow||1870||1874||Republican|
|11||Andrew Scott Sloan||1874||1878||Republican|
|13||Leander F. Frisby||1882||1887||Republican|
|14||Charles E. Estabrook||1887||1891||Republican|
|15||James L. O'Connor||1891||1895||Democratic|
|16||William H. Mylrea||1895||1899||Republican|
|17||Emmett R. Hicks||1899||1903||Republican|
|18||Lafayette M. Sturdevant||1903||1907||Republican|
|19||Frank L. Gilbert||1907||1911||Republican|
|20||Levi H. Bancroft||1911||1913||Republican|
|21||Walter C. Owen||1913||1918||Republican|
|23||John J. Blaine||1919||1921||Republican|
|24||William J. Morgan||1921||1923||Republican|
|25||Herman L. Ekern||1923||1927||Republican|
|26||John W. Reynolds||1927||1933||Republican|
|27||James E. Finnegan||1933||1937||Democratic|
|28||Orlando S. Loomis||1937||1939||Progressive|
|29||John E. Martin||1939||June 1, 1948||Republican|
|30||Grover L. Broadfoot||June 5, 1948||November 12, 1948||Republican|
|31||Thomas E. Fairchild||November 12, 1948||1951||Democratic|
|32||Vernon W. Thomson||1951||1957||Republican|
|33||Stewart G. Honeck||1957||1959||Republican|
|34||John W. Reynolds||1958||1963||Democratic|
|36||Bronson C. LaFollette||1965||1969||Democratic|
|37||Robert W. Warren||1969||October 8, 1974||Republican|
|38||Victor A. Miller||October 8, 1974||November 25, 1974||Democratic|
|39||Bronson C. LaFollette||November 25, 1974||1987||Democratic|
|40||Donald J. Hanaway||1987||1991||Republican|
|41||James E. Doyle||1991||2002||Democratic|
|42||Peg A. Lautenschlager||2002||2006||Democratic|
|43||J.B. Van Hollen||2006||present||Republican|
Wisconsin Department of Justice
P.O. Box 7857
Madison, WI 53707-7857
- J.B. Van Hollen, Attorney General of Wisconsin
- Governor of Wisconsin
- Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Secretary of State
- Wisconsin state code "Chapter 15: Structure of the Executive Branch (page 18)," accessed August 25, 2011
- Wisconsin state code, "Chapter 17: Resignations, vacancies, and removals from office (page 7)," accessed August 25, 2011
- Wisconsin Department of Justice, "Agency division/bureau descriptions," accessed August 25, 2011
- Wisconsin state code, "Chapter 165: Department of Justice (page 1)," accessed August 25, 2011
- The Council of State Governments,"The Book of States 2010 Table 4.11," retrieved June 7, 2011
- [http://www.sos.ms.gov/about_us-history.aspx Mississippi Secretary of State, History of the MS Secretary of State," May 10, 2011.