Seal of the Attorney General of Arkansas
|Formed||March 13, 1868|
|Jurisdiction||The State of Arkansas|
Little Rock, Arkansas|
The Arkansas Attorney General is an executive position and constitutional officer within the Arkansas government. The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement, legal officer, and lawyer for Arkansas. The position is elected every four years, e.g. 2006 and 2010, at the same time as the Governor of Arkansas.
The current Attorney General is Republican Leslie Rutledge, who was elected on November 4, 2014, and sworn in as the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas on January 13, 2015. She is the first Republican ever to serve as Arkansas Attorney General, as well as the first woman.
The first Attorney General for Arkansas was the state's attorney for its Fifth Judicial District, Robert Ward Johnson, who served in the position from 1943 until 1848. He went on to serve in the United States House of Representative and United States Senate as well as in the Confederate Congress during the American Civil War.
The constitution of 1868 made the attorney general post in Arkansas elective.
The best-known Arkansas Attorney General is Bill Clinton, as he later became President of the United States; he was elected to the position in 1976 and served until he was elected governor in 1978. Other former attorneys general include Bruce Bennett, Joe Purcell, Ray Thornton, Jim Guy Tucker, Mark Pryor, Steve Clark and Mike Beebe. Until Rutledge took office, Democrats had held the office since Reconstruction.
According to the official website, the duties of the Attorney General include representing state agencies and commissions in courts of law, giving opinions on issues presented by legislators and prosecutors, handling criminal matters and habeas corpus matters in the state, and advocating for citizens on issues pertaining to the environment, antitrust, and consumer protection.