J.B. Van Hollen
|J.B. Van Hollen|
|Attorney General of Wisconsin|
|January 1, 2007 - Present|
|Years in position||8|
|Predecessor||Peg Lautenschlager (D)|
|President of National Association of Attorneys General|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 2, 2010|
|First elected||November 2006|
|Next general||November 4, 2014|
|U.S. Attorney, Wisconsin Western District|
|District Attorney, Ashland County, Wisconsin|
|Bachelor's||St. Olaf College (1988)|
|J.D.||University of Wisconsin Law School (1990)|
|Place of birth||Delta, WI|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Political career
- 3 Elections
- 4 Campaign contributions
- 5 Recent news
- 6 Personal
- 7 Contact Information
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
An early priority of his time in office was prioritizing forensic DNA analysis at the State Crime Lab. His official bio states that his tenure has been guided by "A philosophy of first principles, limited government, and the Department's role as an 'exist to assist' state agency."
One year after receiving his law degree from Wisconsin Law School in 1990, Van Hollen took up the job of Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin. He was later appointed by Governor Tommy Thompson as Ashland County District Attorney in 1993, serving in the position for six years. Governor Thompson called upon Van Hollen once more to serve the public, designating him the Bayfield County District Attorney. In 2002, he became the United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.
- Bachelor's degree, St. Olaf College (1988) in political science and economics
- Juris Doctorate degree, University of Wisconsin Law School (1990)
Wisconsin Attorney General (2007-present)
Val Hollen was re-elected as Wisconsin's top law enforcement official in 2010. On July 3, 2012, the state Justice Department announced that Van Hollen was elected President of the National Association of Attorneys General, and took office in June 2013. The NAAG was created "to assist state attorneys general and improve interaction and coordination in handling state and federal issues." Prior to his election, he served as Vice President of the Association. “It’s a tremendous honor to be elected by my fellow Attorneys General to serve in this capacity, and it’s a responsibility I take very seriously,” Van Hollen said in a press statement following the announcement.
In his first term, Van Hollen made significant strides in a number of key areas. The state's Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Affiliates has grown by leaps and bounds since his taking office. Prior to Van Hollen being sworn into office in January 2007, the Wisconsin Department of Justice had only recruited twenty-three partners. Following his election, the number of agencies enlisted exceeded one-hundred. Affiliates in the program "receive financial grants and equipment along with specialized training as a part of this cooperative approach to investigating and prosecuting child predators." 
Open records lawsuit
Senator Jon Erpenbach (D) claimed that Van Hollen only worked to uphold those laws with which he agreed, causing Erpenbach to hire the private law firm of Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek instead of using Wisconsin Department of Justice lawyers to defend him against an open records lawsuit from the John K. MacIver Institute. Erpenbach had responded to the Institute's March 24, 2011, Open Records Law request for correspondence related to Act 10 (the changes to public employee bargaining laws passed in 2011) by releasing the documents after removing the senders' names and other personal information. The MacIver Institute wanted to examine these records to determine whether any state employees violated government policies by sending communications from their government email accounts or on state time and filed suit to gain access to the senders' identities. DOJ spokeswoman Dana Brueck denied Erpenbach's claims about Van Hollen's bias. Erpenbach's legal defense, paid for by taxpayers, cost $57,272 from March to October 31, 2012, in addition to $2,194 paid to University of Wisconsin-Madison professor David Canon for research related to the case. On February 5, 2013, Grant County Circuit Judge Robert Van De Hey ruled that he would examine unredacted copies of the emails to decide if the MacIver Institute should be given access to them.
Faced with the threat of an invasion of Asian carp into the Great Lakes, an event that would have far-reaching consequences for the ecosystem, Van Hollen, in conjunction with state attorneys general from both Minnesota and Ohio, filed a response supporting the State of Michigan's Motion for Preliminary Injunction with the United States Supreme Court.  Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox sued the State of Illinois, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago in late-December 2009 seeking the closure of the O'Brien Lock and Dam and the Chicago Controlling Works. He also demanded that Illinois take action to permanently separate the waterways from the Great Lakes in the future and conduct an investigative study in order to determine how best to eradicate the carp from the waterways. 
On December 6, 2010, Attorney General Van Hollen told the Associated Press that he was beginning work on challenging the constitutionality of federal health care reform. Van Hollen was weighing his options towards filing his own lawsuit or joining 20 other states that already filed in a Florida federal court. Van Hollen was forced to wait to take action until January 3, 2011, when Republican Scott Walker was sworn in as Governor. He subsequently joined what would become a coalition of 26 state attorneys general in the lawsuit against the federal government over the law. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled to uphold the law on June 28, 2012.
Attorney General Van Hollen issued a formal opinion on August 9, 2010, that disclosed how Wisconsin's campaign finance laws were affected by the Citizens United ruling. Van Hollen stated that Wisconsin's ban on corporate independent expenditures was unconstitutional as a result of the ruling. However, the ban on corporations directly contributing to candidates was still in effect. Political communications involving issue advocacy was also mentioned in the opinion. The Attorney General stated that communications involving issue advocacy were not excluded under the First Amendment. The Legislature could regulate issue advocacy according to the opinion, but Van Hollen warned that there were many unanswered questions if new laws regulating such advocacy could be constitutional. The Attorney General cautioned the Legislature to not disregard the First Amendment when drawing up legislation to regulate issue advocacy.
In response to questions directed toward his office from district attorneys and police officials from across the state concerning whether the mere act of wearing a handgun in a visible holster amounted to a violation of the disorderly conduct statute, Van Hollen issued an advisory brief in April 2009 stating that it was within federal legal boundaries to do so. Quoting Federal Justice Department precedent, the Wisconsin Attorney General argued that "mere open carry of a firearm, absent additional facts and circumstances, should not result in a disorderly conduct charge."  He did warn, however, this does not immune an individual from questioning by police, which Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn, in responding to the opinion, advised his officers to do.
In September 2010, the Associated Press revealed that Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, a Republican who, two years earlier, had attempted a run for Congress, sent Stephanie Van Groll, whose boyfriend he was prosecuting for attempting to strangle her to death, thirty sex-ladened text messages in three days nearly a year earlier.  Ms. Groll had gone to the Kaukauna Police Department on October 22, 2009 fearing that his interest in her would affect his prosecution of her ex-boyfriend. Shortly after reported the incident, the Kaukauna PD handed the matter over to the State Division of Criminal Investigation who began an inquiry on October 27, before promptly closing it several days later after it had been determined that there "weren’t any facts that indicated any crimes were committed." 
While no charges were filed, Van Hollen's Office did pressure Kratz to report the incident to the State Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR). The State Supreme Court requires a lawyer to file such a report if they know of another lawyer who has committed professional misconduct; this misconduct, however, must raise a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer. It was not until December 4, 2009 that Kratz finally reported the text messages to the OLR. It was also around this time that the Calumet D.A. resigned from his position as Chair of the State Crime Victims Rights Board. However, three months later, the OLR decided not to conduct a formal investigation of Kratz; they believed that the texts, while inappropriate, did not represent professional misconduct on the D.A.'s part.
Following the release of the story, outgoing Democratic Governor Jim Doyle announced that he was beginning the process of removing Kratz from office; two weeks later, however, Kratz, who had placed himself on medical leave, chose to resign as Calumet County District Attorney.  
Scott Hassett, the Democratic nominee challenging Van Hollen in his bid for re-election, used this as an issue against the State Attorney General late in the campaign. In an email sent to supporters on September 21, 2010, Hassett accused Van Hollen of knowing about the district attorney sexting case nearly a year ago, but refusing to do anything about it. Since that email, however, Hassett became more reserved, arguing that Van Hollen did not do anything "substantive" to deal with the problem. At their first debate at the Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee on October 7, 2010, Van Hollen contended, however, that he forced Kratz to resign from the State Crime Victims Rights Board, made Kratz turn himself in to the Office of Lawyer Regulation, and to force the District Attorney to relinquish his authority to prosecute domestic violence cases in Calumet County over to the Attorney General. If anyone is to blame, he said, it would be the Office of Lawyer Regulation who failed to do its duty to take any disciplinary action on District Attorney Kratz.
- 2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election
- Van Hollen defeated Democrat Scott Hassett in the general election contest by a margin of over 15 percentage points.
|Attorney General of Wisconsin, 2010|
|Republican||J.B. Van Hollen Incumbent||57.8%||1,220,791|
|Election Results via Wisconsin Government Accountability Board|
- 2010 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary
- J.B. Van Hollen ran unopposed in this contest
|2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election |
|Republican Party||J.B. Van Hollen||57.8%|
|Democratic Party||Scott Hassett||42.2%|
On November 7, 2006, J.B. Van Hollen won election to the office of Attorney General of Wisconsin. He defeated Kathleen Falk (D) in the general election.
|Attorney General of Wisconsin, 2006|
|Republican||J.B. Van Hollen||50.2%||1,065,453|
|Election Results Via: Wisconsin Government Accountability Board|
|2006 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary |
|Republican Party||J.B. Van Hollen||59.4%|
|Republican Party||Paul Bucher||40.6%|
Comprehensive donor information for Van Hollen is available dating back to 2006. Based on available campaign finance records, Van Hollen raised a total of $3,158,151 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 6, 2013.
Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of J.B. Van Hollen's donors each year. Click [show] for more information.
|J.B. Van Hollen's Campaign Contributions|
Attorney General of Wisconsin
Attorney General of Wisconsin
|Total Raised by Opponents||$1,489,199 (Dem)||$362,831 (Dem)|
|Top 5 contributors||J.B. Van Hollen||$705,000||Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors||$15,000|
|Wisconsin Builders Association||$21,560||Wisconsin Realtors Association||$11,750|
|Wisconsin Realtors Association||$21,500||Wal-Mart||$10,142|
|Wal-Mart||$21,500||Tavern League of Wisconsin||$10,000|
|Wisconsin Republican Party||$21,000||Republican State Leadership||$10,000|
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "J.B. + Van + Hollen + Wisconsin + Attorney"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
Van Hollen currently resides in Waunakee, Wisconsin with his wife, Lynne, and their two children - Byron and Madelyn. In 2010, he received the Openness Award from Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council 
Van Hollen is a member of a number of organizations, including Ducks Unlimited, Grouse Unlimited, National Rifle Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Wisconsin Sporting Heritage, Incorporated.
Wisconsin Department of Justice
P.O. Box 7857
Madison, WI 53707-7857
Phone: (608) 266-1221
Fax: (608) 267-2779
- Attorney General of Wisconsin
- Governor of Wisconsin
- Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Secretary of State
- Official Wisconsin Attorney General website
- J.B. Van Hollen for AG Campaign website
- J.B. Van Hollen's Twitter account
- Project Vote Smart - J.B. Van Hollen biography
- Van Hollen on LinkedIn
- Campaign contributions: 2012, 2010, 2008, 2006
- Van Hollen for AG, "About," accessed April 11, 2013
- GMToday "Wis. GOP delegate files complaint over call" 28 April, 2010
- FOX 6, "Wisconsin AG expects to run again in 2014," December 18, 2012
- Wis Politics, AG Van Hollen: Van Hollen will not seek re-election, October 7, 2013
- Wisconsin Department of Justice, "Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen," accessed April 11, 2013
- National Association of Attorneys General, "J.B. Van Hollen (R)," accessed April 11, 2013
- National Association of Attorneys General, "Wisconsin Attorney General Becomes NAAG President," June 20, 2013
- Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin's J.B. Van Hollen elected president-elect of National Association of Attorneys General," July 4, 2012
- Wispolitics "AG Van Hollen: Internet Crimes Against Children Affiliates pass 100" 7 Dec. 2009
- Mary Spicuzza, Wisconsin State Journal, "Taxpayers foot bill for Erpenbach's legal costs in open records case," Februar 5, 2013
- Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, February 5, 2013
- Democratic Underground "AG Van Hollen: Seeks to stop Asian carp invasion of Lake Michigan" 30 Dec. 2009
- Michigan Live "Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox sues Chicago, Illinois, Corps of Engineers for Asian 'carp-infested waters'" 21 Dec. 2009
- The Post-Crescent "Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to sue over health care reform", December 6, 2010
- Wisconsin State Journal, "Van Hollen says Walker must comply with health care law," June 28, 2012
- Office of Attorney General JB Van Hollen "Van Hollen Issues Formal Opinion on Direct Impact of Citizens United on Wisconsin Campaign Financing Laws" 9 Aug. 2010
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Open carrying of firearms legal, Van Hollen says" 20 April, 2009
- City Pages "Kenneth Kratz sexts victim while prosecuting her boyfriend" 15 Sept. 2010
- Politifact "Challenger Scott Hassett says Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen knew about district attorney sexting case but did nothing about it" 4 Oct. 2010
- Green Bay Press Gazette "Gov. Jim Doyle will begin review of Calumet County DA Ken Kratz" 20 Sept. 2010
- CBS News "Ken Kratz, "Sexting Prosecutor," Resigns; Tried to Start Affair with Domestic Abuse Client" 4 Oct. 2010
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board - 2010 General Election Results
- Wisconsin Government Accountability Board - 2006 Republican Primary Election Results
- Follow the Money, " Career fundraising for J.B. Van Hollen," accessed May 6, 2013
- Follow the Money.org, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
- Green Bay Press Gazette "Green Bay Press-Gazette, attorney general J.B. Van Hollen win Openness Award from Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council" 11 March, 2010
Peg Lautenschlager (D)
|Wisconsin Attorney General
| Succeeded by|