National Association of Attorneys General


Peter Keisler, from White House Judicial Nomin...Image via WikipediaFounded in 1907, the National Association of Attorneys General’s purpose is to assist Attorneys General in the responsibilities of their office and to foster high quality legal services in the United States. The mission is defined as “To facilitate interaction among Attorneys General as peers. To facilitate the enhanced performance of Attorneys General and their staffs.” NAAG encourages cooperative leadership in helping Attorneys General in their response to federal and state issues.
The Association advocates state cooperation on legal and law enforcement issues, performs policy research and analyzes concerns, and assists communication between legal professionals and the other entities of government. The Attorney General of all 50 states and the District of Columbia and the chief legal officers of the Commonwealths of the Northern Mariana Island, Puerto Rico, and territories of Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands are all members of the NAAG.
In 43 states, the Attorney General is popularly elected. However, in Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Wyoming, he is appointed by the governor. In Maine, the legislature votes by secret ballot and in Tennessee the appointee is decided by the Supreme Court. The Attorneys General are chief legal officers of the states and counsel state government legislatures, agencies, and representatives. The Attorneys General form the bridge between law and public policy. The Attorney General handles subjects such as child support enforcement to environmental protection and drug policy.
The Attorney General is responsible for enforcing many federal areas. Cooperation between the Attorney General and the federal government has lead to advances in trade regulation, criminal justice, and environmental enforcement. The authority of the Attorney General varies by state. However, in general it includes the power to: introduce civil suits, challenge the constitutionality of actions, represent state agencies, retract corporate charters, impose open meetings, and enforce air, water pollution, and hazardous waste laws. In addition, in most states the Attorney General handles criminal appeals as well as state-wide prosecutions.

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