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Attorney General Dana Nessel

A former criminal prosecutor and civil rights attorney, Dana Nessel was sworn in as Michigan’s 54th Attorney General on January 1, 2019. Her core initiatives have been fashioned in the image of her promise to Michigan’s residents: to give the Department of Attorney General back to the people that it serves.

Voting & Civil Rights

In 2020, the Michigan Department of Attorney General repeatedly thwarted illegal attempts to undermine the state’s presidential election results. Every election, the department works to ensure that every legitimate vote is counted, and the will of the voters is upheld. And in the rare instances where voter fraud does occur, the department prosecutes offenses against our democracy to their fullest extent.

AG Nessel has also worked hard to safeguard residents’ equitable enjoyment of employment, education, housing, public accommodation, etc. She personally argued Rouch World LLC et al v Michigan Department of Civil Rights et al before the Michigan Supreme Court in March 2022, securing a reinterpretation of the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act which protects against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Criminal Prosecution & Crime Victims’ Rights

In 2022, AG Nessel was awarded both the LACASA Center “Changemaker Award” and the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Michigan “Champion of Justice Award” in recognition of her work advocating for survivors.

AG Nessel partners with local prosecutors and advocacy organizations through the state’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) to investigate and prosecute sexual assaults related to a backlog of previously untested evidence. Michigan’s investigation into clergy abuse of the Catholic Church has been lauded as one of the nation’s most successful, having secured 20 cold-case convictions against nine clergymen and delivered justice for over 44 survivors. 

Upon taking office, AG Nessel launched the first state Attorney General’s Hate Crimes and Domestic Terrorism Unit in the country. In 2023, the Michigan Department of Attorney General launched the state’s Address Confidentiality Program to help the victims of violent crimes keep their address confidential. 

In 2019, AG Nessel brought together over 55 senior advocacy organizations from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to form the state’s Elder Abuse Task Force (EATF) with the goal of combating elder abuse. AG Nessel also spearheaded the establishment of the department’s Sentinel Project, an initiative which conducts unannounced inspections of nursing homes.

AG Nessel collaborated with federal authorities and the Michigan State Police to launch the state’s Organized Retail Crime Unit in 2023, which targets criminal organizations that steal products from retailers to repackage and sell for a profit.

Consumer Protection

The Michigan Department of Attorney General reviews over 11,000 consumer complaints each year. AG Nessel also travels the state, visiting dozens of community hubs and senior care facilities each year to keep those most vulnerable to scams well-informed about the department’s resources. In 2021, AG Nessel received the National Consumer League’s “Trumpeter Award” in recognition of her outstanding work to protect Michigan consumers.

AG Nessel negotiated better transparency from utility companies and saved ratepayers nearly $3 billion by intervening in every proposed rate increase that has come before the Michigan Public Service Commission during her tenure. In partnership with the FTC, FCC, and other attorneys general from across the country, AG Nessel formed a Robocall Task Force to crack down on illegal robocall operations and enhance consumers’ legal protections against the unwanted automated calls. AG Nessel also launched the Michigan Identity Theft Support System, which assists residents seeking to restore their identities after they’ve been stolen, as well as a Business Identity Theft support program to help the state’s entrepreneurs likewise protect their companies’ information.

Health & the Environment

In successfully suing opioid manufacturers and distributors under Michigan’s Drug Dealer Liability Law, AG Nessel made history by garnering over $1.6 billion for Michigan in settlement funds to treat and prevent opioid use disorder. Ongoing settlement negotiations hold the promise of even more funds to be allocated for such efforts in the future.

AG Nessel filed multiple PFAS lawsuits beginning in 2020 to bring relief to communities contaminated by the “forever chemicals.” Clean up efforts are underway as a result of settlement agreements with Wolverine Worldwide and Asahi Kasei Plastics North America. And the department currently has cases against over 20 more PFAS manufacturers.

In 2023, AG Nessel was named “Climate Champion” by the Michigan Climate Action Network for the work of her lawsuit Nessel v. Enbridge seeking to shut down the aging and dangerous Line 5 oil pipeline. 

Criminal Justice Reform

AG Nessel helped draft Michigan’s 2019 Clean Slate law, making it possible for over a million Michiganders to expunge prior convictions from their record. The department has also teamed up with the Secretary of State’s Office to assist residents in the process of restoring their driver’s licenses. 

In 2023, Nessel launched Job Court, a first-of-its-kind diversion program that matches eligible defendants to good-paying jobs with the goal of having their charges dropped after successful completion of the program. The department’s Conviction Integrity Unit, launched under Nessel, has succeeded in exonerating four wrongfully convicted individuals, and dropping charges against a fifth. AG Nessel also formed a Public Integrity Unit to hold government officials accountable when they abuse or neglect their positions of power.

About Attorney General Dana Nessel

Prior to being elected Michigan Attorney General, Dana Nessel served as a Wayne County Prosecutor for over and decade. In her private practice, she was lead attorney for the plaintiffs in DeBoer v. Snyder, a precursor to the landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which codified same-sex marriage and granted adoption rights to same-sex couples nationwide. AG Nessel also helped found the Fair Michigan Justice Project: a collaborative initiative between public and private attorneys to investigate and prosecute capital crimes perpetrated against members of the LGBTQ community.

A graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School, AG Nessel lives in southeast Michigan with her wife, Alanna Maguire, and their twin sons.