Jack Conway

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Jack Conway
Jack Conway.jpg
Attorney General of Kentucky
In office
2007 - Present
Term ends
Years in position 8
PredecessorGregory Stumbo (D)
Base salary$113,615
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 8, 2011
First elected2007
Next generalTerm-limited
Campaign $$2,446,860
Term limitsTwo consecutive terms
High schoolSt. Xavier High School
Bachelor'sDuke University (1995)
J.D.George Washington University
Date of birthJuly 5, 1969
Place of birthLouisville, Kentucky
ReligionRoman Catholic
Office website
John William "Jack" Conway (b. July 5, 1969, in Louisville, Kentucky) is the current Democratic Attorney General of Kentucky. He was first elected in 2007, and won re-election in 2011.[1]

Conway unsuccessfully sought one of Kentucky's U.S. Senate seats in 2010, losing to Republican candidate Rand Paul after a bitterly fought campaign.[1]

Prior to his election, Conway worked as a private attorney for the firm of Conliffe Sandman Sullivan and as a staffer in the administration of former Kentucky Governor Paul Patton.


John William Conway was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to lawyer Tom Conway and his wife, Barbara.[2] He graduated from St. Xavier High School then completed his B.A. in public policy at Duke University in 1995.[3] He received his J.D. from George Washington University.

From 1991 to 1997, Conway worked as a legislative aide to the U.S. House Banking Committee in Washington, D.C.[3] From 1995 to 2001, he worked as legal counsel and deputy cabinet secretary for Kentucky Governor Paul Patton. Conway ran unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives in Kentucky's 3rd Congressional District in 2002, narrowly losing out to Republican incumbent Anne Northup. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) tried to convince him to run for the same seat two years later, but he declined the offer.

Conway is a member of the following organizations:

  • Kentucky Bar Association (1995-present)
  • Lousiville Bar Association (1998-present)
  • Leadership Louisville Foundation (2000-present)


  • St. Xavier High School
  • B.A. in Public Policy - Duke University (1995)
  • National Law Center at George Washington University

Political career

Kentucky Attorney General (2008-present)

As attorney general, Conway "sought execution warrants against death-row inmates who have exhausted their appeals; opposed gay marriage; backed mandatory sentences for drug dealers; and cracked down on Internet crime."[4] The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY) claims that "while he does have liberal views on some issues such as abortion rights and health-care reform, his outlook is conservative or moderate on others, including the death penalty and gay marriage."[4]

Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act

On March 11, 2013, Conway, together with twelve other state attorneys general, sent a letter to Congress in support of the Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act, a bill which would ban for-profit colleges from using federal funds for marketing and recruiting techniques.[5] Sponsored by Senators Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), who chairs the chamber's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, the law aims to “ensure that scarce federal education dollars will be used to serve and educate students rather than to finance advertising campaigns, recruitment operations, and aggressive marketing.”[6] Consumer protection is one of the key duties assigned to the attorney general in each state.

According to the law's text, student enrollment at for-profit degree-issuing institutions such as the University of Phoenix more than doubled between 1998-2008, during which time the federal government--through student financial assistance programs--provided 86 percent of revenues to 15 reviewed publicly traded companies operating these for-profit colleges. A separate analysis of 15 such companies concluded that, on average, 28 percent of all expenditures were on advertising, marketing, and recruiting. Critics, including the attorneys general responsible for the letter advocating the bill's passage, contend that these expenditures are used to deceive consumers about program costs, graduation rates, or their employment potential beyond graduation. The bill seeks to restrict spending of this nature by higher education institutions or other postsecondary educational institution by prohibiting use of federal loans or grants in specific areas, and requiring that all such institutions whose revenues can be traced to federal educational assistance funds "report annually to the Secretary and to Congress the institution's expenditures on advertising, marketing, and recruiting."[5]

In the letter, the attorneys general urged, “Federal taxpayers should not be asked to foot the bill for aggressive recruiting and deceptive sales tactics of colleges that have placed profits ahead of ensuring student success.”[7] There are an estimated 3,000 for-profit schools nationwide, though neither the letter nor the bill cited the name of a specific institution.[8]

See also: Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now

The June 2008 Survey and Scorecard report published by the liberal political organization, ACORN, gave Conway an A- letter grade. The report was published to shine the spotlight on state attorneys general "leading the fight to protect homeowners from joining the flood of Americans losing their homes to foreclosure," according to the group. [9] The grade distributed to the individual attorneys general "generally broke down along party lines," with the exception of Louisiana's Buddy Caldwell. [10]

Ethics complaint

Democratic Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky Daniel Mongiardo filed an official complaint against Conway with the state's Executive Branch Ethics Commission in May 2010 after Conway, who negotiates utility rate increases as part of duties as attorney general, accepted campaign contributions from utility companies.[11] According to Mongiardo, taking campaign money from the same businesses he regulates was an unethical conflict of interest on Conway's part.

Conway's office responded that because he was not a sitting member of the Public Service Commission (PSC), and therefore did not have an actual vote over any potential utility rate increase, the complain was baseless. Mongiardo countered that, as the state's top law enforcer, Conway serves a "very specific regulatory oversight role and power over utility companies applying for and requesting a utility rate increase." [11]

The complaint came three weeks prior to the two men facing off in the Democratic primary race for the United States Senate, a contest Conway ultimately won.



On April 24, 2013, Conway said "there's a good chance" he will run for governor in 2015. “I think I have enough statewide experience that I could go and talk about state issues, issues that are concerns all across the state as well as look out for Louisville’s interests,” he stated.[12]


See also: Kentucky state executive official elections, 2011

Conway announced he would seek re-election in the 2011 Kentucky statewide office campaign nearly two weeks after losing a race for U.S. Senate to Republican Rand Paul in the 2010 midterm elections. [13] Conway won the Democratic nomination unopposed, and defeated Hopkins County Attorney Todd P'Pool in the November 8 general election.[14]

Issue positions

Conway emphasized the strength of his record as Attorney General of Kentucky during his campaign for re-election in 2011. He did not begin actively campaigning until well into election season; according to Amanda Van Benschoten of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Conway kept a "low profile" for the first six months of 2011 and did not hire a campaign manager until June 2011. When asked about his relative inactivity early in the campaign, Conway claimed he was focused on doing his job as attorney general.

In response to criticism from Republican candidate Todd P'Pool over Conway's decision to not join a multi-state lawsuit against President Barack Obama's health care reform law, Conway argued that his office's resources had been curtailed by budget cuts. He said he was being "fiscally responsible" in not joining the lawsuit because "he would have been taking [lawyers] away from something else: cybercrimes, or criminal appeals, or consumer protection, or Medicaid fraud."[15]

Conway was dogged by accusations from Republican Party of Kentucky chairman Steve Robertson surrounding a drug investigation into Conway's brother, Matt. According to Robertson, Matt Conway, who resigned as assistant commonwealth's attorney in Jefferson County in April 2011, may have received preferential treatment from the attorney general. Before his resignation, Matt Conway admitted to police that he had lied about being tipped off to the investigation by Louisville Metro Police. Jack Conway called Robertson's claims "mean and out of bounds" and asserted that he had no involvement in his brother's case except to encourage him to retain counsel.[16]

Attorney General of Kentucky, 2011
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJack Conway Incumbent 55% 449,638
     Republican Todd P'Pool 45% 367,661
Total Votes 817,299


Conway announced in April 2009 that he would challenge veteran U.S. Senator Jim Bunning in the Democratic Party primary during the 2010 Kentucky U.S. Senate race.[17] He became the third Democratic candidate to enter the campaign, following Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo and former United States Customs agent Darlene Fitzgerald Price. After a contentious primary campaign during which Bunning dropped out of the race, the state attorney general narrowly defeated the lieutenant governor 43.98 to 43.18 percent, a margin of victory of less then four thousand votes.[18] Conway subsequently lost the general election to the Republican candidate, physician Rand Paul, receiving 44.2 percent of the vote to Paul's 55.7 percent.

Issue positions

  • Estate Tax:

During his 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate, Conway came out against the repeal of the federal estate tax[19], but broke with his Democratic Party colleagues by supporting an extension of George W. Bush-era tax rates. He suggested he would balance the federal budget by making modifications to Medicare, enforcing "pay as you go" budget rules and following the recommendations of the bipartisan debt commission formed by President Barack Obama.[19]

  • Earmarks:

During a debate with opponent Rand Paul, Conway said he would "stand up for northern Kentucky," where earmarks are concerned, suggesting he supported their existence.[20]

  • Abortion:

Conway supports abortion rights during the first trimester of pregnancy and supported the federal health care reform law sponsored by President Obama.[4] He also favored ending the "don't ask, don't tell" policy towards gay service members. According to Issues2000.org, he also supports affirmative action.[21]


  • "Aqua Buddha" ad

Conway's 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate sparked controversy when it ran a television ad that appeared to question the Christian faith of Conway's opponent, Rand Paul.[22] The 30 second ad suggested that Paul had been a member of a "secret society" at Baylor University that called the Bible a "hoax." According to the ad, Paul had also proclaimed that "[his] god was Aqua Buddha." Popular reaction to the ad was overwhelmingly negative and observers claimed it had gone too far by challenging Paul's faith. A survey by Public Policy Polling showed Conway's disapproval rating rose 16 points in October, while an internal GOP poll found that 45 percent of voters were actually more likely to vote for Paul after seeing Conway's ad; only 26 percent were less likely to choose him. After his loss in the general election, Conway claimed that approving the ad was "one of the few times [he's] gone against [his] gut."[1]

2010 Race for United States Senate - Democratic Primary [23]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Jack Conway 44.0%
     Democratic Party Daniel Mongiardo 43.2%
     Democratic Party Darlene F. Price 5.5%
     Democratic Party James Buckmaster 3.9%
     Democratic Party Maurice M. Sweeney 3.4%
Total Votes 521,659
2010 Race for United States Senate - General Election [24]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Rand Paul 55.7%
     Democratic Party Jack Conway 44.2%
     Write-In 0.1%
Total Votes 1,356,056


2007 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary [25]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Jack Conway 71.9%
     Democratic Party Robert V. Bullock 28.1%
Total Votes 296,907
2007 Race for Attorney General - General Election [26]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Jack Conway 60.5%
     Republican Party Stan Lee 39.5%
Total Votes 1,012,292


Conway's first attempt at office came in 2002, when he sought to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Anne M. Northup of Kentucky's 3rd Congressional district. Conway narrowly lost by a margin of 3.2 percent.

2002 Race for United States House of Representatives, District 3 - General Election [27]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Anne M. Northup 51.6%
     Democratic Party Jack Conway 48.4%
Total Votes 229,074

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Conway is available dating back to 2007. Based on available campaign finance records, Conway raised a total of $2,446,860 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 11, 2013.[28]

Jack Conway's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2011 Attorney General of Kentucky Won $931,767
2009 Attorney General of Kentucky Not up for election $15,962
2007 Attorney General of Kentucky Won $1,499,131
Grand Total Raised $2,446,860

2007 and 2011

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 Jack Conway's donors each year.[29] Click [show] for more information.


Conway currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife, Elizabeth Davenport, and their daughter, Eva. He is also a practicing Roman Catholic.

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Contact Information


Capitol Address:
Office of the Attorney General
Capitol Suite 118
700 Capitol Avenue
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601-3449

Phone: 502-696-5300
Fax: 502-564-2894
E-mail: attorney.general@ag.ky.gov

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 WHAS11.com, "Conway announces re-election, rues 'Aqua Buddha,'" January 23, 2011.
  2. Office of the Attorney General of Kentucky, "Bio of Jack Conway," accessed May 13, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Project VoteSmart, "Profile of Jack Conway," accessed May 13, 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Courier-Journal, "Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway leans left, but not on all issues," July 10, 2010.
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Library of Congress, "Bill Text 113th Congress (2013-2014) S.528.IS," March 12, 2013
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named agsletter
  7. The Boston Globe, "Attorney generals to Congress: Don’t let for-profit colleges use federal grants and loans for advertising," March 17, 2013
  8. Commonwealth of Kentucky Office of the Attorney General, "Letter to Congress," March 11, 2013
  9. ACORN "Attorneys General Take Action: Real Leadership in Fighting Foreclosures" June 2008
  10. Majority in Mississippi "Jim Hood Received An “A” From ACORN In 2008" 17 Sept. 2009
  11. 11.0 11.1 WHAS11 "Mongiardo files ethics complaint vs. Conway" 4 May, 2010
  12. Courier-Journal, "Attorney General Jack Conway says 'good chance' he will run for Kentucky governor in 2015," April 24, 2013
  13. Louisville Courier-Journal "Jack Conway to run for re-election; seeks money to pay off Senate debt" 19 Nov. 2010
  14. 89.3 FM WFPL "Hopkins County Attorney P’Pool Seeking AG’s Office" 15 Dec. 2010
  15. CincyMobile.com, "Conway ready to campaign again," June 19, 2011.
  16. cn|2 Pure Politics, "Jack Conway says GOP is 'out of bounds' for making a political issue out of his brother's troubles," June 1, 2011.
  17. Real Clear Politics, "KY Sen: Bunning Gets 2nd Dem Challenger," April 9, 2009.
  18. Kentucky State Board of Elections, 2010 U.S. Senate Primary Election Results, accessed May 17, 2011.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Project VoteSmart, "Jack Conway Issue Positions," accessed May 16, 2011
  20. Politics Daily, "Rand Paul to Jack Conway in Caustic Kentucky Senate Debate: 'Be a Man'," Oct. 11, 2010.
  21. Issues2000.org, "Jack Conway on Civil Rights," accessed May 16, 2011.
  22. Politico, "'Aqua Buddha' ad backfires on Jack Conway," October 26, 2010.
  23. Kentucky State Board of Elections, "2010 Primary Election Results," accessed May 17, 2010.
  24. Kentucky State Board of Elections, "2010 General Election Results," accessed May 17, 2010.
  25. Kentucky State Board of Elections, "2007 Primary Election Results," accessed May 17, 2010.
  26. Kentucky State Board of Elections, "2007 General Election Results," accessed May 17, 2010.
  27. Kentucky State Board of Elections, "2002 General Election Results," accessed May 17, 2010.
  28. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Jack Conway," accessed July 11, 2013
  29. Follow the Money.org, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015

Political offices
Preceded by
Greg Stumbo (D)
Kentucky Attorney General
Succeeded by