About The Attorney General

What the Attorney General Does

The Attorney General of New York has a wide range of powers and duties to enforce the public interest.
Duties of the Attorney General

The Attorney General’s duties are set forth in the laws of New York State, principally in Executive Law § 63. Among other powers, § 63.8 gives the Attorney General the authority, whenever in his or her judgment the public interest requires it, with the approval of the governor, to inquire into matters concerning the public peace, public safety and public justice.
Divisions of Attorney General’s Office

The Attorney General’s Office is currently organized into four divisions: a criminal division, a division of public advocacy, a division of state counsel, and a division of appeals and opinions. In addition, there is a legislative bureau.
Criminal Division

The Criminal Division, is comprised of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Organized Crime Task Force and the Public Integrity Unit.
Public Advocacy Division

The Public Advocacy Division enforces the public interest by civil investigations and lawsuits through seven bureaus: antitrust, charities, civil rights, consumer frauds and protection, environmental protection, healthcare, and internet.
Division of State Counsel

The Division of State Counsel represents in litigation the State and its agencies, the Governor and other State officials, and the Legislature.
Division of Appeals and Opinions

The Division of Appeals and Opinions handles appellate litigation in both state and federal courts.

The current structure of these divisions is described at http://www.oag.state.ny.us/tour/tour.html
History of the Attorney General’s Office

The first person to hold the office of Attorney General in New York was Jan Lampos, appointed in 1626 by Peter Minuit. The office he held in New Netherlands combined the duties of attorney general and sheriff.

Since 1930, Dennis Vacco has been the only Attorney General from upstate New York. No woman has held the office of Attorney General in New York.

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