Attorney General

Des Moines (D)

Birth: August 11, 1944, Dubuque. Parents: Elmer and Betty Kross Miller. Education: Graduated valedictorian from Wahlert High School, 1962; B.A., Loras College, 1966; J.D., Harvard Law School, 1969. Spouse: Linda Cottington. Children: 1 son, Matthew. Profession and Activities: Served as Iowa Attorney General, 1978-1990 and 1995-present. Served in VISTA, 1969-1970. Legislative assistant to U.S. Representative John C. Culver (D-Iowa), 1970-1971. Worked in the Baltimore Legal Aid Bureau as legal education director and taught part-time at the University of Maryland School of Law, 1971-1973. Practiced law and served as city attorney in McGregor, Iowa, 1973-1978. Partner in the firm of Faegre & Benson in Des Moines, 1991-1994. Member: St. Augustin's Catholic Church, Iowa Bar Association, American Bar Association, Common Cause and the Sierra Club. Honorary degree from Loras College, 1979. Distinguished Alumnus Award from Loras College, 1983. Past President of National Association of Attorneys General. Recipient of Wyman Award for distinguished service to the National Association of Attorneys General, 1990. Salary: $102,361. Term: expires January 2003.


Hoover State Office Building, Des Moines, IA 50319

(515) 281-5164

The Attorney General is a constitutional officer elected by popular vote every four years. The Attorney General is the chief legal officer of the state and head of the Iowa Department of Justice.

The powers and duties of the office include: representing the departments and agencies of state government; taking action for citizens in consumer protection and other areas; enforcing the state's environmental protection laws; playing a central role in the criminal justice system; and providing assistance and advocacy for the victims of crime. The Attorney General also issues legal opinions on questions of law submitted by elected or appointed state officials and defends all tort claim actions against the state.

The Attorney General represents state agencies by representing them in court and giving legal advice on questions of law. The Attorney General also represents the state in other actions and proceedings when, in the Attorney General's judgment, the best interests of the state require it, or when requested to appear by the Governor or Executive Council.

The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division enforces state consumer protection statutes and works to inform citizens so they can avoid being cheated by "con-artists." The Farm Division of the office provides consumer protection and legal advocacy for farmers. The Attorney General also maintains an Office of Consumer Advocate, which represents the interests of consumers in regulated utility cases before the Iowa Utilities Board.

The Attorney General enforces state environmental laws by prosecuting criminal cases against the most serious polluters, and by taking civil legal action both independently and on behalf of the state Department of Natural Resources.

The Attorney General plays a key role in criminal law by handling all criminal appeals from the 99 counties to the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals, prosecuting some of the most difficult cases at the request of county attorneys, and proposing changes in state criminal statutes.

The Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division is the primary agency responsible for aiding and advocating for victims of crime. The Crime Victim Compensation Program awards over $3 million a year to victims of violent crime such as rape and assault, and to survivors of homicide victims. (The funds come entirely from fines and penalties paid by criminals). The division also distributes about $6 million each year to local victim service programs throughout the state.

Attorney General Miller has focused on preventing juvenile crime—especially by identifying and strengthening programs that provide appropriate consequences for youths on the entire continuum from first offenders to the most serious offenders. He also has made a priority of reducing youth access to tobacco and, along with 46 other states, settled a lawsuit against the tobacco industry which will return about $1.7 billion to Iowa taxpayers over 25 years.

Attorney General's Staff

Deputy Attorney General, Gordon Allen; Deputy Attorney General, Doug Marek; Deputy Attorney General, Julie Pottorff; Deputy Attorney General, Tam Ormiston; Chief of Staff, Eric Tabor