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Calling him a "man of great integrity, a man of great judgment and a man who knows the law," President George W. Bush announced his decision to nominate John Ashcroft to serve as U.S. Attorney General on December 22, 2000. When Mr. Ashcroft left office four years later, violent crime was at a record low, gun crime was at an all-time low, a successful corporate crime crackdown had been launched, and more terrorist attacks on the U.S. had been prevented.
One of the most high-profile and experienced Attorneys General in the nation's history, Mr. Ashcroft led the U.S. law enforcement community through the challenging and transformational period following the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001. His tenure was highlighted by forceful public advocacy of President Bush's strong anti-terrorism strategy. His quiet government influence was rated highest inside the Bush Administration by The National Journal.
Raised in Springfield, Missouri, Mr. Ashcroft attended public schools until enrolling at Yale University, where he graduated with honors in 1964. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago in 1967. Prior to entering public service, Mr. Ashcroft taught business law at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield. He authored a book honoring his father, Lessons from a Father to His Son, and co-authored multiple editions of two college law textbooks with his wife, Janet. His career of public service began in 1973 as Missouri Auditor. He was later elected to two terms as the state's Attorney General. His colleagues in the non-partisan National Association of Attorney's General elected him as their President.
Mr. Ashcroft served as Governor of Missouri from 1985 through 1993 where he balanced eight consecutive budgets. Fortune magazine rated him one of the top ten education governors, while Financial World and City and State magazines credited him with making Missouri one of the best financially managed states. In 1991, the non-partisan National Governor's Association voted him Chairman.
Mr. Ashcroft was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994, and worked to reduce crime and safeguard the rights of crime victims. He co-sponsored a bill which designated 911 as the universal emergency number and was a leader in passing legislation directly responsible for allowing U.S. companies to utilize more aggressive encryption technology. During his entire career as senator, Mr. Ashcroft served on the Commerce Committee where he advocated for updated U.S. banking laws, the protection of consumer privacy, and increased personal responsibility on the part of consumers.
As U.S. Attorney General, Ashcroft reorganized the Justice Department to focus on its number one priority: to prevent another terrorist attack. Leveraging every legal tool available to law enforcement, including the critical tools provided in the USA PATRIOT Act, the Justice Department initiated a tough antiterrorism campaign that has assisted in disrupting over 150 terrorist plots worldwide, dismantling terrorist cells in cities across America, and convicting 191 individuals in terrorism-related investigations to date.
At the direction of President Bush, the Department established the Corporate Fraud Task Force to restore integrity to the marketplace by cracking down on companies and corporate executives who abused the trust of their employees and investors. Violent crime was driven to a 30-year low as the Department employed tough tools and tough penalties against criminals who victimized the innocent. The Department implemented President Bush's Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative, increasing federal gun prosecutions by 76% and driving crimes with guns to a record low.
Today, Mr. Ashcroft serves as the Chairman of The Ashcroft Group, LLC which provides confidential strategic consulting and crisis counseling to major international corporations. In 2005 Mr. Ashcroft was named a Distinguished Professor in the schools of Law and Government at Regent University.
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