The Attorney General of the Illinois is a member of the state executive branch and as such is an elected representative of the people. The agency works as the legal arm of the government and assists all state agencies in matters that hold the interest of the government. The attorney general’s office is also entrusted with the task of fighting litigations on behalf of state employees who have been sued for performing tasks that were within the bounds of their official duties.
When writing this article, the office was held by Lisa Madigan who was elected to her first term in 2002 and has held the post since then. She was the first woman chosen to serve as the attorney general of the state of Illinois and during her third term, Madigan remains one of the senior most attorney generals in the country who often argue cases before the US Supreme Court.
Under the helms of the current attorney general, the Illinois Department of Justice has incorporated numerous programs and launched a myriad of initiatives aimed at improving the community safety, upholding the rights of consumers, protecting vulnerable factions of the society like children, seniors and women and safeguarding the environment. Among the more notable efforts of the Illinois Attorney General’s office are:
Consumer protection:The attorney general’s office has not only represented consumers in fraud and product quality cases but also the agency offers valuable information to community members to protect them from instances of commercial cheating.The Attorney General has tightened the noose around several mortgage firms that are known to practice predatory lending including some well known establishments like Wells Fargo and Ameriquest among others.
The attorney general and her team of litigators and administrators not only handle lawsuits on behalf of wronged consumers but also work to mediate in buyer complaints and educate consumers on prevalent scams and malpractices particularly in the finance and insurance sector. Till date, the attorney general of Illinois has managed to recover a whopping $9 billion in restitution and damages for disgruntled borrowers.
The most significant legal move of the agency was to advance legislations like the Mortgage Rescue Fraud Act and the High Risk Home Loan Act that are pro-borrower and help to prevent abusive lending practices.Representing the state and consumers in financial antitrust suits is just one aspect of the duties of the attorney general.
Community safety: The attorney general’s office has undertaken a plethora of initiatives to safeguard children, women and seniors and foster a safer working and living environment for the public at large.The Illinois state program for protecting communities from the dangers on the internet now serves as a model for the establishment of similar programs across the country. The website of the agency offers a range of information in a quest to lower the rate of sexual and physical assault on women
In the interest of public safety, the attorney general offers crime history information to the public including details on registered sex offenders and inmates currently serving time in the Illinois prison system.The attorney general’s office of Illinois has made it mandatory for all justice agencies to collect DNA samples n sexual assault cases.
Another initiative, the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Act has helped in pooling the resources of law enforcement agencies across the state in an endeavor to apprehend and try offenders who target children. Apart from this, the attorney general’s office also hosted a one of its kind summit on Cyber Safety which helped to make parents and educators aware of the perils associated with widespread technology use by children.
In addition to these, the attorney general of Illinois has also taken the lead in protecting the natural resources of the state by limiting land, water and air pollution. The office of the attorney general is also responsible for upholding federal laws in the state and educating community members of their rights under these rules.
One of the most notable undertakings of the agency is the Federal Freedom of Information Act; pursuant to this regulation, all government agencies are legally obligated to furnish information on state held records. This includes crime history information which is disseminated by the Illinois State police Department in the interest of public safety.