Tom Miller is serving in his tenth four-year term as attorney general of Iowa.
He was born Aug. 11, 1944, in Dubuque, Iowa, the son of the late Elmer and Betty Miller. Tom grew up in Dubuque, where his father was the longtime county assessor and an inspiration for Tom’s early interest in public service. Tom graduated from Wahlert High School in 1962 and Loras College in 1966, and he received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1969.
After law school, Mr. Miller served as a VISTA volunteer in Baltimore, Md., for two years, and then as legislative assistant to U.S. Representative John C. Culver (D-IA.) He returned to the Baltimore Legal Aid Bureau as legal education director, and he also taught part-time at the Maryland School of Law. In 1973, Mr. Miller returned to live in Iowa. He opened a law practice in McGregor in northeast Iowa and served as city attorney of McGregor and Marquette, Iowa. He ran for attorney general in 1974.
Attorney General Miller has served in office since he was first elected in 1978, except for four years (1991-94) when he was in private practice.
Attorney General Tom Miller has earned a reputation for integrity, high quality legal work, and strong work on behalf of ordinary Iowans. He is well known for his work to prevent crime and assist crime victims, to protect consumers, and to be an advocate for farmers:
Fighting crime has always been one of his top priorities. The Attorney General’s Office continues its strong record handling many of the state’s most important and difficult criminal prosecutions and arguing all of the state’s criminal appeals before the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Mr. Miller and his office also have focused on fighting juvenile crime and working for improvements in the juvenile justice system. The office also provides extensive assistance to victims of crime, including crime victim compensation and support for local programs that aid victims.
Protecting consumers is one of Mr. Miller’s highest priorities. The Consumer Protection Division in his office has helped hundreds of thousands of Iowans with complaints about wide-ranging topics, including improper debt collection practices, telemarketing fraud and abuse, charity fraud, predatory lending, mortgage, and vehicle complaints. His office’s undercover telephone lines have helped reduce telemarketing crimes that cheat older Iowans and people all over the nation. Attorney General Miller has led major multistate investigations and settlements that resulted in millions of dollars in consumer relief to Iowans, and changes to the mortgage servicing industry and subprime lenders.
Working for farmers has always been a mission for Mr. Miller, who established the nation’s first farm division in an attorney general’s office when he took office in 1978. The Farm Division has led the way in successful cases against agricultural chemical companies, helped hundreds of farmers get a fair shake from a huge pipeline project cutting across their farmland, led a group of states insisting on compensation to farmers and elevators who suffer losses resulting from StarLink genetically modified corn, and pushed for laws to protect farmers who enter contracts with large agribusinesses.
Attorney General Miller is known for his longtime fight on behalf of kids and taxpayers with his campaign to reduce the enormous death toll and financial costs of tobacco addiction and disease. He was a leader in the multistate settlement agreement that resulted in the tobacco industry paying billions of dollars to the states and changing the way it conducts business. Now Attorney General Miller is working to reduce youth addiction and the thousands of Iowans who die every year from tobacco-related disease.
Mr. Miller has a long record of achieving results through cooperation with other state attorneys general and with local, state and federal officials, regardless of their political affiliation. He has served as president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and received NAAG’s Wyman Award as the attorney general who contributed most to NAAG and its members. He has chaired several NAAG committees and led major multistate working groups working on tobacco issues, antitrust enforcement, agriculture, and consumer protection.