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Attorney General’s Office preparing for leadership transition


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s incoming-chief legal officer is keeping mum about his plans as he learns more about the office he will soon be heading.

On Thursday, current Attorney General Josh Hawley, who was elected to the U.S. Senate, along key leadership in the office sat down with current-Treasurer Eric Schmitt, recently appointed Attorney General to-be. They gave Schmitt an overview of the office, the changes that have been made in the previous two years, some of the responsibilities, and a brief look regarding the ongoing cases.

The Attorney General’s Office is comprised of roughly 300 people, of which 180 are attorneys within two divisions: Criminal and Civil. The different units within the divisions include consumer protection, litigation, financial services, labor, government affairs, public safety, criminal appeals, and medicaid fraud.

The office has thousands of ongoing cases ranging from defending the state in court to challenge unlawful practices to taking on federal laws. The Attorney General’s Office has two open investigations into former-Gov. Eric Greitens and is challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.  

Schmitt has not commented on if he plans on staying the course set by Hawley or switching things up.

“Until we are full briefed on all these kinds of matters, it would be inappropriate to comment,” said Schmitt.

Schmitt also hasn’t indicated whether he will bring staff from the Treasurer’s Office with him or is keeping staffers in place. He did note that they have a webpage with job openings within the Attorney General’s Office.

Currently, John Sauer is Solicitor General with Darrell Moore heading up the Criminal Division and Ryan Bangert heading of the Civil Division.

Hawley was the first Republican elected as Missouri’s Attorney General since 1993. Sworn into office in January 2017, he will vacate the position to be sworn in as Missouri’s junior U.S. Senator on January 3, 2019.

Gov. Mike Parson appointed Schmitt to fill Hawley’s position in November. Parson has not named someone to fill Schmitt’s position as state Treasurer.

“I think every attorney general has to make his or her administration their own. You come to office with your own set of priorities,” said Hawley. “Hopefully, Attorney General Schmitt will come to office with the benefit of this office recently been through a major transition, it has recently been restructured in a major way.”