Getting It Right
As both a lawyer and a legislator, Mark Obenshain understands the importance of the Attorney General’s role in protecting Virginians and defending their liberties. The Attorney General is the Commonwealth's lawyer, called upon to advise the Governor, the General Assembly, state agencies, and others on the legality of policies and the interpretation of laws and regulations, and to represent the Commonwealth and its agencies in legal proceedings. The Attorney General is also called upon to assist localities in criminal investigations and prosecutions and defend Virginia law when it is challenged, and to enforce consumer protection laws and represent utility consumers before the State Corporation Commission.
It's a job, therefore, with no room for on-the-job training. An accomplished legislator and acclaimed litigator with extensive experience in constitutional issues, Mark Obenshain has the experience and qualifications to get it right.
Mark Obenshain has the proven practical experience to manage the office of the Attorney General, which is, in effect, one of Virginia’s largest law firms. As the former managing partner of one 30-lawyer firm and the founding partner of another (Lenhart Obenshain PC), Mark Obenshain has twenty-five years of litigation experience and more than 100 jury trials to his credit. He is AV Peer Review Rated attorney, which is the highest honor an attorney can receive from their peers through Martindale Hubbell, has been listed with Best Lawyers in America and Virginia Super Lawyers every year since 2006, and has made the Virginia Business Magazine's Legal Elite list each year since 2001.
Mark Obenshain is highly regarded for his legal acumen and has extensive experience in successful law firm management. That's the kind of experience you want for an office that involves managing nearly 400 employees and charged with defending the Commonwealth, her laws, and her citizens.
The Attorney General doesn't just oversee prosecutions; part of the job is working with the legislature to develop legislation that makes our Commonwealth safer. As a state senator, Mark Obenshain has been a leader in supporting law enforcement and keeping our communities safe. That's why the Virginia Sheriffs Association honored him with their Legislator of the Year Award, and by the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys with their Champion of Justice Award.
Mark Obenshain patroned the legislation that cracked down on meth dealers and established new mandatory minimums for repeat drug offenders and sexual predators. He made Virginia law get serious about repeat violations of protective orders and wrote the law that requires those who would solicit indecent acts with minors to be listed on the sex offender registry. He made “phishing” a Class 5 felony before most people knew what phishing was, and it is his legislation that requires early warning systems in public colleges and universities to help keep students safe.
Mark has worked to provide prosecutors and law enforcement professionals the tools they need to combat crime and keep our communities safe, and as Attorney General, he will continue to partner with law enforcement on a public safety agenda that works for Virginia.
In Thomas Jefferson's Virginia, “liberty” is not just a word; it is a charge and an inheritance. Throughout his career, Mark Obenshain has been a strong and effective defender of our cherished liberties, and he will bring that passion for constitutionally limited government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility with him to the Attorney General's office.
Among the duties of an Attorney General are providing counsel to state agencies, issuing opinions on the interpretation and applicability of state laws, and defending Virginia's laws in court. Our next Attorney General must be someone who will stand up for Virginia's reserved powers – and for the rights of Virginians – against federal overreach, and whose counsel is firmly grounded in our state and federal constitutions. As Attorney General, Mark Obenshain will be faithful to the rule of law and dedicated to defending Virginians’ constitutional liberties.
With the Attorney General called upon to issue opinions and go to court on issues like the right to bear arms and the right to make one's own health care choices, and with overbearing federal agencies saddling farmers and small business owners with excessive and unwarranted regulations, Virginia cannot afford to elect an Attorney General without a firm commitment to defending liberty. And for Mark Obenshain, there can be no higher calling than to defend the liberties of all Virginians.
Elder Abuse and Neglect. Up to 1 in 10 adults experience some form of abuse each year, and many of these cases never come to the attention of law enforcement. As Attorney General, I will (1) establish an Elder Abuse Prevention Center in the Attorney General's office to bring together existing expertise and enhance efforts to provide guidance and technical assistance in investigating and prosecuting elder abuse; (2) enhance oversight to help prevent and quickly identify abuse; (3) improve training efforts to better equip law enforcement and first responders, friends and family members, care providers, and community volunteers to identify the warning signs of neglect and abuse and know how to respond; and (4) expand partnerships with local law enforcement to help them not only identify and prosecute abuse and neglect cases, but effectively respond to them, getting abused seniors the care they need. Click here for the details of my plan to combat elder abuse and neglect.
Human Trafficking. Slavery hasn't gone away, and this horror is not confined to far-away places. By most estimates, as many as 100,000 children are victims of human trafficking right here in the United States, and roughly 15,000 foreign nationals are trafficked into the country each year. As Attorney General, I will advocate for legislation making human trafficking a stand-alone felony offense, adding those engaging in commercial sex with a minor to the sex offender registry, extending asset forfeiture laws to human trafficking, and ensuring victim compensation, and will establish a Human Trafficking Task Force to assist prosecutors, produce educational materials, and review policy on an ongoing basis. Click here for further details.
Ethics Reform. Few things are more important to good government than public confidence, and that can only be attained—or warranted—when we adhere to the principles of openness and transparency. As Attorney General, I will work to ensure that my office maintains the highest standards of transparency and accountability, provide professional ethics training to all OAG employees, and make the expertise within the office available to others who wish to benefit from professional ethics training and a better understanding of Virginia’s conflict of interest and disclosure laws. In order to maintain the public trust, Virginia must also promptly conduct a thorough review of gift disclosure laws, which would include evaluating the penalties or sanctions for failure to disclose. I support a ban on gifts to elected officials over a $100 threshold, and believe that the same rules should apply to members of an elected official’s household as well. I will insist on a culture of transparency and accountability in the Attorney General’s office and, regardless of the steps the General Assembly takes, I will institute reforms within the Office of the Attorney General to ensure that Virginians can have confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the office.
Outside Counsel Transparency and Accountability. As part of my commitment to transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility, I will advocate for the adoption of the Transparency in Private Attorney Contracts Act (TIPAC) in Virginia, legislation to ensure that the actions of the Attorney General's office always benefit the office's ultimate client: the people of Virginia. The OAG frequently retains outside counsel to pursue specialized litigation on behalf of the Commonwealth; this legislation will ensure that these contracts are open and procured through a competitive process, and will establish caps on the fees collected by outside counsel to ensure that the interests of all Virginians come first. And with or without the passage of such legislation, as Attorney General, I will always insist on an open and transparent process because the Attorney General is the people's lawyer.