List of Attorneys General of Wisconsin

Last updated
Attorney General of Wisconsin
Privy Seal of Wisconsin.svg
Seal of the Executive Branch
Josh Kaul

since January 7, 2019
Term length Four years, no term limits
Inaugural holder James S. Brown
FormationJune 7, 1848 (1848-06-07)
Salary$148,242 [1]

The Attorney General of Wisconsin is a constitutional officer in the executive branch of the government of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Fort-five individuals have held the office of Attorney General since statehood. The incumbent is Josh Kaul, a Democrat. [2] [3] [4]

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders.

Wisconsin A north-central state of the United States of America

Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States, in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin is the 23rd largest state by total area and the 20th most populous. The state capital is Madison, and its largest city is Milwaukee, which is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The state is divided into 72 counties.

Josh Kaul Attorney General of Wisconsin

Joshua Lautenschlager Kaul is an American attorney, politician and member of the Democratic Party who is the 45th Attorney General of Wisconsin since January 2019.


Election and term of office

The Attorney General is elected on Election Day in November, and takes office on the first Monday of the next January. [5] There is no limit to the number of terms an Attorney General may hold. From 1848 to 1968, the Attorney General was elected to a two-year term in the November general election. Since 1970, following ratification of a constitutional amendment in April 1967, the Attorney General has been elected to a four-year term.

Election Day (United States) day for the general elections of public officials in the US

In the United States, Election Day is the day set by law for the general elections of federal public officials. It is statutorily set as "the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November" or "the first Tuesday after November 1". The earliest possible date is November 2, and the latest possible date is November 8.

A term limit is a legal restriction that limits the number of terms an officeholder may serve in a particular elected office. When term limits are found in presidential and semi-presidential systems they act as a method of curbing the potential for monopoly, where a leader effectively becomes "president for life". This is intended to protect a democracy from becoming a de facto dictatorship. Sometimes, there is an absolute or lifetime limit on the number of terms an officeholder may serve; sometimes, the restrictions are merely on the number of consecutive terms he or she may serve.

In the event of a vacancy in the office of the Attorney General, the Governor of Wisconsin may appoint a replacement to fill the remainder of the term. The Attorney General may be removed from office through an impeachment trial. [6] They may also choose to resign from office.

Governor of Wisconsin head of state and of government of the U.S. state of Wisconsin

The Governor of Wisconsin is the highest executive authority in the government of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The position was first filled by Nelson Dewey on June 7, 1848, the year Wisconsin became a state. Prior to statehood, there were four Governors of Wisconsin Territory.

Powers and duties

The Attorney General is the chief law officer of the state of Wisconsin, and amongst other duties has charge and conduct for the state of all suits instituted for and against the government thereof, certifies all bonds issued by the state, protects the School Trust Funds managed by the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, and provides written opinions on questions of law to either house of the Wisconsin Legislature or the head of any state agency. [7] [8] By virtue of office, the Attorney General directs and supervises the Wisconsin Department of Justice. [9] In accordance of Article X, Section 7 of the Wisconsin State Constitution, the Attorney General is a member of the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands; the same is a member of - or designates members to - the Claims Board, Crime Victims Rights Board, Law Enforcement Standards Board, and Board of Directors of the Insurance Security Fund. [10] [11] [12] [13]

The Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands or "BCPL" is a state agency responsible for managing Wisconsin's School Trust Funds in support of public education, for managing the state's remaining School Trust Lands, and for maintaining an extensive archive of land records. The agency was established in Article X, Section 7 of the Wisconsin Constitution, ratified in 1848 and subsequently amended over the succeeding decades.

Wisconsin Legislature State legislature of the U.S. state of Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The Legislature is a bicameral body composed of the upper house Wisconsin State Senate and the lower Wisconsin State Assembly, both of which have had Republican majorities since January 2011. With both houses combined, the legislature has 132 members representing an equal number of constituent districts. The Legislature convenes at the state capitol in Madison.

List of Attorneys General of Wisconsin

This is a list of attorneys general for Wisconsin, from before statehood to present.

Number of Attorneys General of Wisconsin by party affiliation
Republican 28
Democratic 16
Progressive 1

Attorneys General of the Wisconsin Territory

Before statehood, the Wisconsin Territory also had several attorneys general appointed by the governor of the territory. [14]

Wisconsin Territory territory of the USA between 1836-1848

The Territory of Wisconsin was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 3, 1836, until May 29, 1848, when an eastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Wisconsin. Belmont was initially chosen as the capital of the territory. In 1837, the territorial legislature met in Burlington, just north of the Skunk River on the Mississippi, which became part of the Iowa Territory in 1838. In that year, 1838, the territorial capital of Wisconsin was moved to Madison.

NameTook officeLeft officeTerritorial governor
Henry S. Baird 18361839 Henry Dodge
Horatio N. Wells 18391841Henry Dodge
Mortimer M. Jackson 18421845 James Doty
Nathaniel Tallmadge
William Pitt Lynde 18451845Nathaniel Tallmadge
A. Hyatt Smith 18451848Henry Dodge

Attorneys General of the State of Wisconsin

   Democratic    Republican    Progressive

#NamePartyTook officeLeft office
1 James S. Brown
Democratic June 7, 1848 [15] January 7, 1850
2 S. Park Coon
DemocraticJanuary 7, 1850 [15] January 5, 1852
3 Experience Estabrook
DemocraticJanuary 5, 1852 [15] January 2, 1854
4 George Baldwin Smith
DemocraticJanuary 2, 1854 [15] January 7, 1856
5 William Rudolph Smith
DemocraticJanuary 7, 1856 [15] January 4, 1858
6 Gabriel Bouck
DemocraticJanuary 4, 1858 [15] January 2, 1860
7 James Henry Howe [note 1]
Republican January 2, 1860 [15] October 7, 1862 [15] [16]
8 Winfield Smith [note 2]
RepublicanOctober 7, 1862 [15] January 1, 1866
9 Charles R. Gill
RepublicanJanuary 1, 1866 [15] January 3, 1870
10 Stephen Steele Barlow
RepublicanJanuary 3, 1870 [15] January 5, 1874
11 A. Scott Sloan
RepublicanJanuary 5, 1874 [15] January 7, 1878
12 Alexander Wilson
RepublicanJanuary 7, 1878 [15] January 2, 1882
13 Leander F. Frisby [note 3]
RepublicanJanuary 2, 1882 [15] January 3, 1887
14 Charles E. Estabrook
RepublicanJanuary 3, 1887 [15] January 5, 1891
15 James L. O'Connor
DemocraticJanuary 5, 1891 [15] January 7, 1895
16 William H. Mylrea
RepublicanJanuary 7, 1895 [15] January 2, 1899
17 Emmett R. Hicks
RepublicanJanuary 2, 1899 [15] January 5, 1903
18 Lafayette M. Sturdevant
RepublicanJanuary 5, 1903 [15] January 7, 1907
19 Frank L. Gilbert
RepublicanJanuary 7, 1907 [15] January 2, 1911
20 Levi H. Bancroft
RepublicanJanuary 2, 1911 [15] January 6, 1913
21 Walter C. Owen [note 1]
RepublicanJanuary 6, 1913 [15] January 7, 1918 [15]
22 Spencer Haven [note 2]
RepublicanJanuary 7, 1918 [15] January 6, 1919
23 John J. Blaine
RepublicanJanuary 6, 1919 [15] January 3, 1921
24 William J. Morgan
RepublicanJanuary 3, 1921 [15] January 1, 1923
25 Herman L. Ekern
RepublicanJanuary 1, 1923 [15] January 3, 1927
26 John W. Reynolds, Sr.
RepublicanJanuary 3, 1927 [15] January 2, 1933
27 James E. Finnegan
DemocraticJanuary 2, 1933 [17] January 4, 1937
28 Orland Steen Loomis
Progressive January 4, 1937 [18] January 2, 1939
29 John E. Martin [note 1]
RepublicanJanuary 2, 1939 [19] June 1, 1948 [16]
vacantJune 1, 1948June 5, 1948
30 Grover L. Broadfoot [note 2] [note 1]
RepublicanJune 5, 1948 [16] November 12, 1948 [16]
31 Thomas E. Fairchild [note 2]
DemocraticNovember 12, 1948 [16] January 1, 1951
32 Vernon W. Thomson
RepublicanJanuary 1, 1951 [20] January 7, 1957
33 Stewart G. Honeck
RepublicanJanuary 7, 1957 [21] January 5, 1959
34 John W. Reynolds, Jr.
DemocraticJanuary 5, 1959 [22] January 7, 1963
35 George Thompson
RepublicanJanuary 7, 1963 [23] January 4, 1965
36 Bronson La Follette
DemocraticJanuary 4, 1965 [24] January 6, 1969
37 Robert W. Warren [note 1]
RepublicanJanuary 6, 1969 [25] October 8, 1974 [16]
38 Victor A. Miller [note 2] [note 1]
DemocraticOctober 8, 1974 [16] November 25, 1974 [16]
39 Bronson La Follette [note 2]
DemocraticNovember 25, 1974 [16] January 5, 1987
40 Don Hanaway
RepublicanJanuary 5, 1987
[ citation needed ]
January 7, 1991
41 Jim Doyle
(born 1945)
DemocraticJanuary 7, 1991 [26] January 6, 2003
42 Peggy Lautenschlager
DemocraticJanuary 6, 2003 [27] January 3, 2007
43 J.B. Van Hollen
(born 1966)
RepublicanJanuary 3, 2007 [28] January 5, 2015
44 Brad Schimel
(born 1965)
RepublicanJanuary 5, 2015January 7, 2019
45 Josh Kaul
(born 1980)
DemocraticJanuary 7, 2019Incumbent
  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Resigned from office.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Appointed to fill unexpired term.
  3. Some sources record Leander Frisby's surname as "Frisbie". [15]

See also

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  5. Barish, Lawrence S. (ed.) (2007). "Chapter 3: Wisconsin Constitution (Article XIII)". State of Wisconsin Blue Book 20072008 (PDF). Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. p. 234. ISBN   978-0-9752820-2-1 . Retrieved 2008-05-10.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)[ permanent dead link ]
  6. Barish, Lawrence S. (ed.) (2007). "Chapter 3: Wisconsin Constitution (Article VII)". State of Wisconsin Blue Book 20072008 (PDF). Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. p. 218. ISBN   978-0-9752820-2-1 . Retrieved 2008-05-10.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)[ permanent dead link ]
  14. Wisconsin Territory Archived 2008-10-12 at the Wayback Machine
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 Anderson, William J. William A. Anderson (ed.). The Wisconsin blue book, 1929. Madison, Wisconsin: Democrat Printing Company. p. 152. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Barish, Lawrence S. (ed.). "Chapter 8: Statistical Information on Wisconsin". State of Wisconsin Blue Book 20072008 (PDF). Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. pp. 722–724. ISBN   978-0-9752820-2-1. Archived from the original on 2011-08-11. Retrieved 2008-05-08.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  17. "Governor Takes Oath Amid Cheers of 5,000" (PDF). Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wisconsin. January 3, 1933. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  18. "New Administrations Started" (PDF). Oshkosh Daily Northwestern. Oshkosh, Wisconsin. January 4, 1937. p. 6. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  19. "Gov. Julius P. Heil Takes Office" (PDF). The Sheboygan Press. Sheboygan, Wisconsin. January 2, 1939. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  20. "Highlights of Inauguration Ceremony as Five State Republican Officials Take Oaths in Capitol" (PDF). Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wisconsin. January 2, 1951. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  21. "Thomson Takes Oath, Pledges Common Sense" (PDF). Stevens Point Daily Journal. Stevens Point, Wisconsin. January 7, 1957. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  22. "Gaylord Nelson Becomes State's 34th Governor" (PDF). Stevens Point Daily Journal. Stevens Point, Wisconsin. January 5, 1959. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  23. "Reynolds Calls for Unity At Inaugural Ceremonies" (PDF). Oshkosh Daily Northwestern. Oshkosh, Wisconsin. January 7, 1963. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  24. "Knowles Seeks State's Aid in Move Forward" (PDF). Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wisconsin. January 5, 1965. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  25. "Knowles Stresses Need for Priorities" (PDF). Manitowoc Herald Times. Manitowoc, Wisconsin. January 6, 1969. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  26. "Thompson takes oath, praises school choice" (PDF). Ironwood Daily Globe. Ironwood, Michigan. January 8, 1991. p. 7. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  27. "The guard changes". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. January 7, 2003. p. 1A. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  28. "At inauguration, Doyle keeps focus on health care, schools; Legislative leaders make bipartisan pledges after Capitol ceremonies". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. January 4, 2007. p. 1B. Retrieved 2010-04-21.