Illinois Attorney General

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Attorney General of Illinois
Seal of the Attorney General of Illinois.svg
Seal of the Attorney General
Kwame Raoul RFCG (1).jpg
Kwame Raoul

since January 14, 2019
Term length4 years
Inaugural holderDaniel Pope Cook
FormationDecember 3, 1818

The Illinois Attorney General is the highest legal officer of the state of Illinois in the United States. Originally an appointed office, it is now an office filled by statewide election. Based in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, the attorney general is responsible for providing legal counsel for the various state agencies including the Governor of Illinois and Illinois General Assembly, and conducting all legal affairs pertaining to the state.

The office of the Illinois Attorney General was established on December 3, 1818, based on guidelines adopted by a state constitutional convention. The attorney general is second (behind the Lieutenant Governor) in the line of succession to the office of Governor of Illinois.[1][2] The first person to fulfill the duties of the office was Daniel Pope Cook who only served eleven days, and was later elected to the United States Congress. Cook County was named in his honor.

The current holder of the office is Kwame Raoul.


Under the Constitution of Illinois, the attorney general is the state's chief legal officer, and has the powers and duties prescribed by law. The attorney general's duties include advocating for the people of Illinois, working with the General Assembly to push for new legislation, and litigating to ensure that state laws are followed.[3] The state's attorney general Act specifies several duties, including:[4]

  • Represent the people of Illinois before the Supreme Court where the state or the people of the state are interested parties
  • Prosecute all proceedings and actions in favor of the state
  • Defend state officers acting in their official capacities in any actions or proceedings against them
  • Consult with and advise the state's attorneys
  • Investigate violations of all statutes that the attorney general has a duty to enforce
  • Advise the Governor and other state officers, and give written opinions on legal or constitutional matters when requested
  • Give written opinions to the General Assembly or any of its committees when requested
  • Prepare drafts of contracts in which the state is interested
  • Attend, present evidence to, and prosecute indictments by the statewide grand jury
  • Ensure the proper allocation of funds appropriated to public institutions, and prosecute breaches of trust

The attorney general also oversees the Public Access Counselor, which is responsible for enforcing the state's Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act.

List of attorneys general[edit]


  Democratic (21)   Republican (17)   Democratic-Republican (4)

# Name Political party Term
1 Daniel Pope Cook Democratic-Republican 1819
2 William Mears Democratic-Republican 1819–1821
3 Samuel D. Lockwood Democratic-Republican 1821–1822
4 James Turney Democratic-Republican 1822–1829
5 George Forquer Democratic 1829–1832
6 James Semple Democratic 1832–1834
7 Ninian Wirt Edwards Democratic 1834–1835
8 Jesse B. Thomas, Jr. Democratic 1835–1836
9 Walter B. Scates Democratic 1836–1837
10 Usher F. Linder Democratic 1837–1838
11 George W. Olney Democratic 1838–1839
12 Wickliffe Kitchell Democratic 1839–1840
13 Josiah Lamborn Democratic 1840–1843
14 James A. McDougall Democratic 1843–1846
15 David B. Campbell Democratic 1846–1848
Office abolished 1848–1867
16 Robert G. Ingersoll Republican 1867–1869
17 Washington Bushnell Republican 1869–1873
18 James K. Edsall Republican 1873–1881
19 James A. McCartney Republican 1881–1885
20 George Hunt Republican 1885–1893
21 Maurice T. Moloney Democratic 1893–1897
22 Edward C. Akin Republican 1897–1901
23 Howland J. Hamlin Republican 1901–1905
24 William H. Stead Republican 1905–1913
25 Patrick J. Lucey Democratic 1913–1917
26 Edward J. Brundage Republican 1917–1925
27 Oscar E. Carlstrom Republican 1925–1933
28 Otto Kerner, Sr. Democratic 1932–1938
29 John Edward Cassidy Democratic 1938–1941
30 George F. Barrett Republican 1941–1949
31 Ivan A. Elliott Democratic 1949–1953
32 Latham Castle Republican 1953–1959
33 Grenville Beardsley Republican 1959–1960
34 William L. Guild Republican 1960–1961
35 William G. Clark Democratic 1961–1969
36 William J. Scott Republican 1969–1980
37 Tyrone C. Fahner Republican 1980–1983
38 Neil F. Hartigan Democratic 1983–1991
39 Roland W. Burris Democratic 1991–1995
40 Jim Ryan Republican 1995–2003
41 Lisa Madigan Democratic 2003–2019
42 Kwame Raoul Democratic 2019–present

[5] [6]

Living former attorneys general[edit]

As of July 2022, there are four former Attorneys General of Illinois still alive, the oldest being Roland Burris (served 1991–1995, born 1937). The most recent Attorney General of Illinois to pass away was Jim Ryan (served 1995–2003) on June 12, 2022.

Attorney General Attorney General term Date of birth (and age)
Roland Burris 1991-1995 (1937-08-03) August 3, 1937 (age 85)
Neil Hartigan 1983-1991 (1938-05-04) May 4, 1938 (age 84)
Tyrone C. Fahner 1980-1983 (1942-11-18) November 18, 1942 (age 79)
Lisa Madigan 2003-2019 (1966-07-30) July 30, 1966 (age 56)

See also[edit]


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Illinois Compiled Statutes.

  1. ^ "Constitution of the State of Illinois". Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  2. ^ "Illinois Compiled Statutes 15 ILCS 5 — Governor Succession Act". Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  3. ^ "Illinois Attorney General - About Us". Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  4. ^ "The Office of the Illinois Attorney General". Better Government Association. 2018-11-19. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  5. ^ "Illinois Attorney General - History of the Illinois Attorney General".
  6. ^ Illinois Blue Book. Springfield: Secretary of State. 1908. p. 159. Retrieved 13 August 2018.

External links[edit]