The Office

The Attorney General is Pennsylvania’s top law enforcement official, with a wide range of responsibilities to protect and serve the citizens and agencies of the Commonwealth. The Attorney General is served by a staff of several hundred prosecutors, attorneys, investigators, agents and support staff in offices across the state, divided into three sections: the Criminal Law Division, the Public Protection Division and the Civil Law Division.

The Criminal Law Division is responsible for investigating drug trafficking, child predators, organized crime, public corruption, insurance fraud and other criminal violations. This division also handles criminal cases referred to the Office of Attorney General by Pennsylvania’s 67 District Attorneys or various other government agencies.

More Criminal Law Division

The Public Protection Division safeguards the personal rights of the citizens of Pennsylvania and protects the public interest. The Public Protection Division handles consumer complaints through the Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Health Care Section, oversees Tobacco enforcement, Charitable Trusts and Organizations, Antitrust actions and Civil Rights Enforcement.

More Public Protection Division

The Civil Law Division defends the constitutionality of Pennsylvania law, represents Commonwealth agencies, defends the Commonwealth in tax appeals, collects delinquent taxes and other debts owed to the Commonwealth, handles or supervises various appeals and reviews Commonwealth contracts, regulations and bond issues for form and legality.

More Civil Law Division

The Office of Public Engagement prevents crime through outreach in communities across Pennsylvania. The office teaches young adults and parents about drug addiction and shows seniors how to avoid becoming the victim of a scam. Request a presentation and access resources from the office online.

More Office of Public Engagement

 Oag Jeffersoncounty Drugbust

Josh Shapiro serves as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General to combat crime, uphold individual rights and protect consumers. He is the sixth person elected to the office, and was sworn in on January 17, 2017 as the Commonwealth’s top lawyer and chief law enforcement officer with a mandate to ensure integrity and be the people’s Attorney General.

Throughout his career as a public servant, Josh has risen above politics and taken on the status quo to protect Pennsylvanians.

Some of his top priorities include protecting seniors, veterans, small businesses and consumers from scams and fraud; implementing a comprehensive integrity agenda to ensure people from across the Commonwealth are heard and have faith in the justice system; and directing an aggressive fight against the heroin and opioid epidemic, including treatment for those suffering from addiction.

Josh’s work has earned him a national reputation as a rising progressive leader and bipartisan consensus builder.

As the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, his work on behalf of victims and for criminal justice reform earned him the trust of law enforcement leaders from across the ideological spectrum.

As Chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Josh led an historic fiscal turnaround, helped the first LGBT couples in Pennsylvania marry, protected voting rights and fired Wall Street money managers to protect pensions and save retirees millions. As State Representative for Pennsylvania’s 153rd House District he passed some of the toughest ethics laws in state history.

Josh Shapiro graduated magna cum laude from the University of Rochester and earned his law degree at night from Georgetown University Law Center. He was in private practice for over a decade and is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar. Josh was raised in Montgomery County, where he met his high school sweetheart, Lori, and where they are raising their four children.

The heritage of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General is one of the oldest and most divergent offices of public trust in the United States spanning over three centuries of life in the Commonwealth.

The office is marked by several significant periods in its history:

1643-1681: Attorneys General before William Penn
1686-1710: The Era of David Lloyd
1717-1776: Proprietary Attorneys General
1776-1838: Early Constitutional Era
1838-1915: 19th and Early 20th Century Attorneys General
1915-1981: Modern Attorneys General
1981-present: Elected Attorneys General

The position of Attorney General was created in 1643, before the arrival of English Common Law, as an office within government of the area known as New Sweden. Appointees were selected by the King of Sweden.

The arrival of William Penn in 1681 as the proprietor of Pennsylvania began a continuing succession of notable Attorneys General including David Lloyd (1686-1710), who designed Pennsylvania’s first judicial system, and Andrew Hamilton (1717-1726), who defined the early role of the Office by making significant changes from the European systems of justice. (Hamilton later defended printer John Peter Zenger in a case that became the foundation for the concept of freedom of press.)

The “Proprietary” Attorneys General existed until 1776 when the Attorney General became a constitutional officer of the democratic Commonwealth. John Morris was the first Attorney General appointed under the Constitution.

The new constitutional office continued to grow in importance until 1840 when it suffered a period of regression. Various Attorneys General and the Governors who appointed them defined the duties of the Office in different and contradictory ways. By the year 1850, through improperly drafted legislation, the Office was stripped of its authority at the county level and was rendered almost powerless in state government.

It was not until 1915 that the General Assembly established new powers and duties for the Office including the authority to appoint more Deputy Attorneys General. Beginning in 1923, the Administrative Code made the Attorney General the administrator for the Pennsylvania Department of Justice.

Attorneys General
At the primary election of 1978, Pennsylvania voters approved a Constitutional amendment providing for the election of an Attorney General effective with the general election of 1980.

The Constitutional amendment was implemented by the Commonwealth Attorneys Act of 1980 which defined the duties and powers of the Attorney General. The Constitution further provided the Attorney General shall be the chief law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth and shall exercise such powers and perform such duties as may be imposed by law.

Attorney General Took office Left office
LeRoy S. Zimmerman January 20, 1981 January 17, 1989
Ernie Preate January 17, 1989 June 23, 1995
Walter W. Cohen (acting) June 26, 1995 October 3, 1995
Tom Corbett October 3, 1995 January 21, 1997
Mike Fisher January 21, 1997 December 15, 2003
Jerry Pappert January 18, 2004 January 18, 2005
Tom Corbett January 18, 2005 January 18, 2011
William Ryan (acting) January 18, 2011 May 27, 2011
Linda Kelly May 27, 2011 January 15, 2013
Kathleen Kane January 15, 2013 August 17, 2016
Bruce Castor (acting) August 17, 2016 August 31, 2016
Bruce Beemer August 31, 2016 January 17, 2017
Josh Shapiro January 17, 2017 present

 

 

The State Constitution provides that the Attorney General shall be the chief law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth and shall exercise such powers and perform such duties as may be imposed by law.

The Commonwealth Attorneys Act establishes the Attorney General as the chief legal and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth and provides the following fundamental duties and responsibilities of the Office of Attorney General:

  • To be the Commonwealth’s chief law enforcement officer charged with the responsibility for the prosecution of organized crime and public corruption. This law enforcement program includes a criminal investigations unit and drug law enforcement program as well as direction of Statewide and multi-county investigating grand juries and a Medicaid Fraud Control Section.
  • To represent the Commonwealth and all Commonwealth agencies and upon request the Auditor General, State Treasurer and Public Utility Commission in any action brought by or against the Commonwealth or its agencies; to furnish upon request legal advice to the Governor or the head of any Commonwealth agency.
  • To review for form and legality all proposed rules and regulations for Commonwealth agencies.
  • To review for form and legality all Commonwealth deeds, leases and contracts to be executed by Commonwealth agencies.
  • To collect, by suit or otherwise, all debts, taxes and accounts due to the Commonwealth which shall be referred to and placed with the Attorney General.
  • To administer the provisions relating to consumer protection as well as appoint the Advisory Committee.
  • To represent the Commonwealth and its citizens in any action brought for violation of the Antitrust Laws of the United States and the Commonwealth.

As provided by the Commonwealth Attorneys Act, the fundamental duties of the Attorney General are:

  • To be the Commonwealth’s chief law enforcement officer charged with the responsibility for the prosecution of organized crime and public corruption. This law enforcement effort includes a criminal investigation unit and a drug law enforcement program as well as direction of statewide and multi-county investigating grand juries and a Medicaid Fraud Control Section
  • To collect, by suit or otherwise, all debts, taxes and accounts due the Commonwealth which shall be referred to and placed with the Attorney General
  • To represent the Commonwealth and all Commonwealth agencies and upon request the Auditor General, State Treasurer and Public Utility Commission in any action brought by or against the Commonwealth or its Agencies
  • To administer the provision relating to consumer protection laws
  • To represent the Commonwealth and its citizens in any action brought about for violation of the antitrust laws of the United States.

Michelle HenryMichelle Henry, a 20-year veteran prosecutor, is First Deputy Attorney General, responsible for overseeing all legal, criminal and civil matters in the Office of Attorney General.

Henry served previously as First Assistant District Attorney of Bucks County. In her career with the Bucks County DA’s Office, Henry served in every possible role, including as an assistant DA, deputy DA, chief deputy, senior deputy, chief of major crimes and chief of child abuse. In January 2008, Henry was appointed Bucks County District Attorney by a bipartisan vote of the Bucks County judiciary and served as DA for nearly two years.


Jennifer SelberJennifer Selber, a career prosecutor with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, is the Executive Deputy Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division.

Selber served as chief of the Homicide Unit in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, where she oversaw all homicide investigations and tried cases as well. Selber successfully prosecuted the killer of Police Officer Chuck Cassidy, and more recently, the contractor responsible for the building collapse on Market Street that left six people dead. As head of the Criminal Division, Selber will oversee 436 employees and an array of law enforcement actions, including the Attorney General’s efforts to combat the heroin and opioid crisis in Pennsylvania.


Jonathan Scott GoldmanJonathan Scott Goldman, an experienced litigator, is the Executive Deputy Attorney General in charge of the Civil Division.

Goldman was a partner at Blank Rome, where he specialized in commercial litigation and complex commercial disputes. In heading OAG’s Civil Division, Goldman is responsible for a unit of 104 attorneys that represent the Commonwealth in a variety of complex matters. The Civil Division represents state agencies, collects delinquent taxes and other debts, and reviews all state contracts and regulations for legality.


James A. Donahue, III, graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, in 1980 with a B.A. degree in journalism and government. After working as a newspaper reporter for a year, Mr. Donahue entered Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh. He graduated from Duquesne in 1984 with a J.D. degree.

After admission to the Pennsylvania Bar, Mr. Donahue worked for a small firm in Norristown, Pennsylvania. He joined the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General in 1985. In July 1997, he was appointed Chief Deputy Attorney General of the Antitrust Section. In 2004, Mr. Donahue won the Marvin Award from the National Association of Attorneys General for leadership in advancing the goals of the Association. Mr. Donahue was appointed Chair of the NAAG Multistate Antitrust Task Force and served in that position from 2009 to 2012. In January 2013, Mr. Donahue became Executive Deputy Attorney General for the Public Protection Division, responsible for Antitrust, Charitable Trust, Consumer Protection, Civil Rights & Special Litigation, Health Care and Tobacco Enforcement. From September 2016 until January 2017 he has also served as Acting Chief of staff. From February 2017 to March 2018, Mr. Donahue served as Senior Counsel to the Attorney General. He returned to the position of Executive Deputy Attorney General for the Public Protection Division, which now also includes the Fair Labor Section, in March 2018.

Mr. Donahue is also admitted to practice law in Massachusetts.


Robert ReedRobert K. Reed, a career federal prosecutor and community outreach specialist, is the Executive Deputy Attorney General leading the Office of Public Engagement.

Reed brings more than 35 years of government service, beginning as an Assistant United States Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Washington, D.C. and Eastern District of Pennsylvania. During his tenure, Reed was the Project Safe Neighborhoods Coordinator, Anti-Gang Coordinator, and the Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division overseeing the violent crime, gang, and narcotics investigations in the office. He has also overseen multiple community outreach, prisoner reentry programs, and violence prevention initiatives, including bringing trauma-informed care training to the community, law enforcement and criminal justice officials. Reed has established partnerships with community groups in underserved communities focusing on civil rights and equal access to government.


Jodi LobelJodi Lobel, a former Deputy District Attorney in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, is the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Operations.

During her 25 year career at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, Lobel was named Chief of the Felony Waiver and Charging Units, and served as Deputy of the Trial, Pre-Trial, and Training and Technology Divisions. She tried hundreds of felony cases, including homicide trials. Lobel was the recipient of the Legal Intelligencer “Woman of Distinction” award in 2010. In addition, she is an adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy at The Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law.

 Oag Jeffersoncounty Drugbust

Josh Shapiro serves as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General to combat crime, uphold individual rights and protect consumers. He is the sixth person elected to the office, and was sworn in on January 17, 2017 as the Commonwealth’s top lawyer and chief law enforcement officer with a mandate to ensure integrity and be the people’s Attorney General.

Throughout his career as a public servant, Josh has risen above politics and taken on the status quo to protect Pennsylvanians.

Some of his top priorities include protecting seniors, veterans, small businesses and consumers from scams and fraud; implementing a comprehensive integrity agenda to ensure people from across the Commonwealth are heard and have faith in the justice system; and directing an aggressive fight against the heroin and opioid epidemic, including treatment for those suffering from addiction.

Josh’s work has earned him a national reputation as a rising progressive leader and bipartisan consensus builder.

As the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, his work on behalf of victims and for criminal justice reform earned him the trust of law enforcement leaders from across the ideological spectrum.

As Chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Josh led an historic fiscal turnaround, helped the first LGBT couples in Pennsylvania marry, protected voting rights and fired Wall Street money managers to protect pensions and save retirees millions. As State Representative for Pennsylvania’s 153rd House District he passed some of the toughest ethics laws in state history.

Josh Shapiro graduated magna cum laude from the University of Rochester and earned his law degree at night from Georgetown University Law Center. He was in private practice for over a decade and is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar. Josh was raised in Montgomery County, where he met his high school sweetheart, Lori, and where they are raising their four children.

The heritage of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General is one of the oldest and most divergent offices of public trust in the United States spanning over three centuries of life in the Commonwealth.

The office is marked by several significant periods in its history:

1643-1681: Attorneys General before William Penn
1686-1710: The Era of David Lloyd
1717-1776: Proprietary Attorneys General
1776-1838: Early Constitutional Era
1838-1915: 19th and Early 20th Century Attorneys General
1915-1981: Modern Attorneys General
1981-present: Elected Attorneys General

The position of Attorney General was created in 1643, before the arrival of English Common Law, as an office within government of the area known as New Sweden. Appointees were selected by the King of Sweden.

The arrival of William Penn in 1681 as the proprietor of Pennsylvania began a continuing succession of notable Attorneys General including David Lloyd (1686-1710), who designed Pennsylvania’s first judicial system, and Andrew Hamilton (1717-1726), who defined the early role of the Office by making significant changes from the European systems of justice. (Hamilton later defended printer John Peter Zenger in a case that became the foundation for the concept of freedom of press.)

The “Proprietary” Attorneys General existed until 1776 when the Attorney General became a constitutional officer of the democratic Commonwealth. John Morris was the first Attorney General appointed under the Constitution.

The new constitutional office continued to grow in importance until 1840 when it suffered a period of regression. Various Attorneys General and the Governors who appointed them defined the duties of the Office in different and contradictory ways. By the year 1850, through improperly drafted legislation, the Office was stripped of its authority at the county level and was rendered almost powerless in state government.

It was not until 1915 that the General Assembly established new powers and duties for the Office including the authority to appoint more Deputy Attorneys General. Beginning in 1923, the Administrative Code made the Attorney General the administrator for the Pennsylvania Department of Justice.

Attorneys General
At the primary election of 1978, Pennsylvania voters approved a Constitutional amendment providing for the election of an Attorney General effective with the general election of 1980.

The Constitutional amendment was implemented by the Commonwealth Attorneys Act of 1980 which defined the duties and powers of the Attorney General. The Constitution further provided the Attorney General shall be the chief law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth and shall exercise such powers and perform such duties as may be imposed by law.

Attorney General Took office Left office
LeRoy S. Zimmerman January 20, 1981 January 17, 1989
Ernie Preate January 17, 1989 June 23, 1995
Walter W. Cohen (acting) June 26, 1995 October 3, 1995
Tom Corbett October 3, 1995 January 21, 1997
Mike Fisher January 21, 1997 December 15, 2003
Jerry Pappert January 18, 2004 January 18, 2005
Tom Corbett January 18, 2005 January 18, 2011
William Ryan (acting) January 18, 2011 May 27, 2011
Linda Kelly May 27, 2011 January 15, 2013
Kathleen Kane January 15, 2013 August 17, 2016
Bruce Castor (acting) August 17, 2016 August 31, 2016
Bruce Beemer August 31, 2016 January 17, 2017
Josh Shapiro January 17, 2017 present

 

 

The State Constitution provides that the Attorney General shall be the chief law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth and shall exercise such powers and perform such duties as may be imposed by law.

The Commonwealth Attorneys Act establishes the Attorney General as the chief legal and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth and provides the following fundamental duties and responsibilities of the Office of Attorney General:

  • To be the Commonwealth’s chief law enforcement officer charged with the responsibility for the prosecution of organized crime and public corruption. This law enforcement program includes a criminal investigations unit and drug law enforcement program as well as direction of Statewide and multi-county investigating grand juries and a Medicaid Fraud Control Section.
  • To represent the Commonwealth and all Commonwealth agencies and upon request the Auditor General, State Treasurer and Public Utility Commission in any action brought by or against the Commonwealth or its agencies; to furnish upon request legal advice to the Governor or the head of any Commonwealth agency.
  • To review for form and legality all proposed rules and regulations for Commonwealth agencies.
  • To review for form and legality all Commonwealth deeds, leases and contracts to be executed by Commonwealth agencies.
  • To collect, by suit or otherwise, all debts, taxes and accounts due to the Commonwealth which shall be referred to and placed with the Attorney General.
  • To administer the provisions relating to consumer protection as well as appoint the Advisory Committee.
  • To represent the Commonwealth and its citizens in any action brought for violation of the Antitrust Laws of the United States and the Commonwealth.

As provided by the Commonwealth Attorneys Act, the fundamental duties of the Attorney General are:

  • To be the Commonwealth’s chief law enforcement officer charged with the responsibility for the prosecution of organized crime and public corruption. This law enforcement effort includes a criminal investigation unit and a drug law enforcement program as well as direction of statewide and multi-county investigating grand juries and a Medicaid Fraud Control Section
  • To collect, by suit or otherwise, all debts, taxes and accounts due the Commonwealth which shall be referred to and placed with the Attorney General
  • To represent the Commonwealth and all Commonwealth agencies and upon request the Auditor General, State Treasurer and Public Utility Commission in any action brought by or against the Commonwealth or its Agencies
  • To administer the provision relating to consumer protection laws
  • To represent the Commonwealth and its citizens in any action brought about for violation of the antitrust laws of the United States.

Michelle HenryMichelle Henry, a 20-year veteran prosecutor, is First Deputy Attorney General, responsible for overseeing all legal, criminal and civil matters in the Office of Attorney General.

Henry served previously as First Assistant District Attorney of Bucks County. In her career with the Bucks County DA’s Office, Henry served in every possible role, including as an assistant DA, deputy DA, chief deputy, senior deputy, chief of major crimes and chief of child abuse. In January 2008, Henry was appointed Bucks County District Attorney by a bipartisan vote of the Bucks County judiciary and served as DA for nearly two years.


Jennifer SelberJennifer Selber, a career prosecutor with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, is the Executive Deputy Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division.

Selber served as chief of the Homicide Unit in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, where she oversaw all homicide investigations and tried cases as well. Selber successfully prosecuted the killer of Police Officer Chuck Cassidy, and more recently, the contractor responsible for the building collapse on Market Street that left six people dead. As head of the Criminal Division, Selber will oversee 436 employees and an array of law enforcement actions, including the Attorney General’s efforts to combat the heroin and opioid crisis in Pennsylvania.


Jonathan Scott GoldmanJonathan Scott Goldman, an experienced litigator, is the Executive Deputy Attorney General in charge of the Civil Division.

Goldman was a partner at Blank Rome, where he specialized in commercial litigation and complex commercial disputes. In heading OAG’s Civil Division, Goldman is responsible for a unit of 104 attorneys that represent the Commonwealth in a variety of complex matters. The Civil Division represents state agencies, collects delinquent taxes and other debts, and reviews all state contracts and regulations for legality.


James A. Donahue, III, graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, in 1980 with a B.A. degree in journalism and government. After working as a newspaper reporter for a year, Mr. Donahue entered Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh. He graduated from Duquesne in 1984 with a J.D. degree.

After admission to the Pennsylvania Bar, Mr. Donahue worked for a small firm in Norristown, Pennsylvania. He joined the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General in 1985. In July 1997, he was appointed Chief Deputy Attorney General of the Antitrust Section. In 2004, Mr. Donahue won the Marvin Award from the National Association of Attorneys General for leadership in advancing the goals of the Association. Mr. Donahue was appointed Chair of the NAAG Multistate Antitrust Task Force and served in that position from 2009 to 2012. In January 2013, Mr. Donahue became Executive Deputy Attorney General for the Public Protection Division, responsible for Antitrust, Charitable Trust, Consumer Protection, Civil Rights & Special Litigation, Health Care and Tobacco Enforcement. From September 2016 until January 2017 he has also served as Acting Chief of staff. From February 2017 to March 2018, Mr. Donahue served as Senior Counsel to the Attorney General. He returned to the position of Executive Deputy Attorney General for the Public Protection Division, which now also includes the Fair Labor Section, in March 2018.

Mr. Donahue is also admitted to practice law in Massachusetts.


Robert ReedRobert K. Reed, a career federal prosecutor and community outreach specialist, is the Executive Deputy Attorney General leading the Office of Public Engagement.

Reed brings more than 35 years of government service, beginning as an Assistant United States Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Washington, D.C. and Eastern District of Pennsylvania. During his tenure, Reed was the Project Safe Neighborhoods Coordinator, Anti-Gang Coordinator, and the Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division overseeing the violent crime, gang, and narcotics investigations in the office. He has also overseen multiple community outreach, prisoner reentry programs, and violence prevention initiatives, including bringing trauma-informed care training to the community, law enforcement and criminal justice officials. Reed has established partnerships with community groups in underserved communities focusing on civil rights and equal access to government.


Jodi LobelJodi Lobel, a former Deputy District Attorney in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, is the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Operations.

During her 25 year career at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, Lobel was named Chief of the Felony Waiver and Charging Units, and served as Deputy of the Trial, Pre-Trial, and Training and Technology Divisions. She tried hundreds of felony cases, including homicide trials. Lobel was the recipient of the Legal Intelligencer “Woman of Distinction” award in 2010. In addition, she is an adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy at The Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law.