John Ashcroft

Former Attorney General John AshcroftDistinguished Professor of Law and Government

  • JD, The Law School, University of Chicago.
  • A.B., cum laude, Yale University.  


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.

Professional Experience

Chairman, The Ashcroft Group, 2005-present
Distinguished Professor of Law and Government, Regent University, 2005-present
United States Attorney General, 2001-2005
United States Senator from Missouri, 1995-2001
Attorney at Law, Suelthaus and Kaplan, Clayton, Missouri, 1993-1995
Governor of Missouri, 1985-1993
Attorney General of Missouri, 1976-1985
Assistant Attorney General of Missouri, 1975-1976
State Auditor of Missouri, 1973-1975
Associate Professor of Business, Southwest Missouri State University, 1971-1972
Coordinator for Judicial Affairs, Southwest Missouri State University, 1969-1973
Assistant Professor, Southwest Missouri State University, 1967-1971
Attorney at Law, Springfield, Missouri, 1967-1973

Representative Honors and Awards

Impact America Award, Point Loma Nazarene University, 1998
Robert C. Goshorn Award, 1993
Layman of the Year Award, National Association of Evangelicals, 1991
Freedom Fighter Award, California Republican Assembly, 1991
The General Superintendent's Medal of Honor, Assemblies of God, 1989
Distinguished Service Award as Education Commission of the States Chairman, 1988
"OTHERS" Award, Salvation Army, 1987
The Wyman Award, National Association of Attorneys' General, 1983

Honorary Degrees

Doctor of Humane Letters, Northwest University, 2005
Doctor of Humane Letters, The Catholic University of America, 2002
Doctor of Laws, Seattle Pacific University, 1993
Doctor of Humane Letters, Regent University, 1993
Doctor of Laws, Westminster College, 1991
Doctor of Laws, William Jewell College, 1990
Doctor of Humane Letters, Harris Stowe State College, 1989
Doctor of Education, Southwest Baptist College, 1986
Doctor of Humanities, Oklahoma Christian College, 1986
Doctor of Education, Missouri Western State College, 1986
Doctor of Humane Letters, Oral Roberts University, 1985

Selected Executive Responsibilities on National Bodies

National Governors' Association:

Chairman, 1991-92
Vice Chairman, 1990-91
Executive Committee, 1989-1993
Vice Chairman, Committee on International Trade, 1988-89
Chairman, Subcommittee on Education, 1987-88
Chairman, Task Force on Adult Literacy, 1986-87
Chairman, Task Force on College Quality, 1985-86

National Association of Attorneys' General:

President, 1981-82
Vice President, 1980-81
Executive Committee, 1977-85

Education Commission of the States:

Chairman, 1987-88
Chairman-elect, 1986-87
Co-chairman Task Force on State Policy and Independent Higher Education, 1987-90

Republican Governors' Association:

Chairman, 1989-90
Vice Chairman and Fundraiser, 1988-89

Republican National Committee:

Co-chairman, Committee on Resolutions (The Platform Committee), 1992
Delegation Leader, Missouri State Republican Party, 1992

Other Representative National Executive Responsibilities:

Chairman, President's National Commission on America's Urban Families, 1992-93
Co-chairman, National Bush/Quayle '92 Committee, 1992
Co-chairman, Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, Council of State Governments, 1990
Co-chairman, Post Secondary Education Committee, President's Education Summit with the Governors, 1989
Lead Governor, Council of State Policy and Planning
Agencies/Council of Governor's Policy Advisors State Academy on Increasing Literacy for Jobs and Productivity, 1987


Books and Pamphlets:
Ashcroft, John.  Antitrust Enforcement in Missouri. Missouri Attorney General’s Office, undated.

Ashcroft, John.  “For the People”, A Compliance Guide to the Missouri Open Meetings Act.  Missouri Attorney General’s Office, undated.
Ashcroft, John D.  Never Again, Securing America and Restoring Justice.  New York:  Hachette Book Group USA, 2006.

Ashcroft, John D., with Gary Thomas.  Lessons from a Father to His Son.  Nashville:  Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998.

Ashcroft, John D., and Janet E. Ashcroft.  Law for Business.  16th ed. Mason, Ohio:  Thomson South-Western, 2008.

Ashcroft, John D., and Janet E. Ashcroft.  Law for Business.  14th and 15th ed. Cincinnati and Mason, Ohio:  West Legal Studies in Business, 2002 to 2005.

Ashcroft, John D., and Janet E. Ashcroft.  Law for Business.  13th ed. Mason, Ohio:  West Educational Publishing Co., 1999.

Ashcroft, John D., and Janet E. Ashcroft.  Law for Business (formerly College Law for Business).  11th and 12th ed.  Cincinnati:  South-Western Publishing Co., 1992 to 1996.

Ashcroft, John D., and Janet E. Ashcroft.  College Law for Business.  8th, 9th and 10th ed.  Cincinnati:  South-Western Publishing Co., 1976 to 1987.

Ashcroft, John D., and A. Aldo Charles.  College Law for Business.  7th ed.  Cincinnati:  South-Western Publishing Co., 1971.

Ashcroft, John D., and Janet E. Ashcroft.  It's the Law.  1st, 2nd and 3rd ed.  Cincinnati:  South-Western Publishing Co., 1979 to 1991.

Representative Articles:

Ashcroft, John.  "A Simple Way Back to Power." The Washington Post, November 17, 1992, A-17.

Ashcroft, John.  "The Tenth Amendment:  Dual Sovereignty to Dead Letter."  Area Development Sites and Facility Planning, May, 1992, 80-82.

Ashcroft, John.  Foreword to Quicken Your Pace, by John B. Aker.  Wheaton, Ill.:  Slavic Gospel Press, 1992.

Ashcroft, John.  "I'm Listening."  Moody Monthly, May, 1991, 32.

Ashcroft, John.  "Redefining the Possible."  In Governors on Governing, ed. Robert D. Behn, 66-67, Washington, D.C.:  National Governors' Association, 1991.

Ashcroft, John.  Editorial on earthquake preparedness for publication by Missouri's major daily newspapers, September, 1990.

Ashcroft, John.  Editorial on state rankings for publication by Missouri's major daily newspapers, June, 1990.

Ashcroft, John.  Editorial on Earth Day for publication by Missouri's major daily newspapers, April, 1990.

Ashcroft, John.  "Thinking About the Earth."  Rural Missouri, March, 1990, 3.

Ashcroft, John.  Editorial on ethics laws for publication by Missouri's major daily newspapers, February, 1990.

Ashcroft, John.  "Missouri Implements Innovations to Address Financial Challenges."  Jefferson City News-Tribune, July 3, 1989, sec. "The Statesman," p. 11.

Ashcroft, John.  "Missouri:  Gateway to the Future."  Friendly Exchange, August, 1988, 35.

Ashcroft, John.  "Values Provide Guidance to Navigate Uncertain Future."  Jefferson City News-Tribune, January 31, 1988, sec. A, p. 4.

Ashcroft, John.  "Missouri Construction Prospects Look Bright."  Modern Builder, November-December, 1987, 42.

Ashcroft, John.  "Governor Ashcroft Chooses Veterans Day to Announce Proposed Veterans Memorial."  Missouri Legionnaire, November, 1987, 1 & 2.

Ashcroft, John.  "A Message From Our Governor."  The Assembly Messenger, July-August, 1987, 2.

Ashcroft, John.  "Student Assessment:  A Measurement of Achievement."  AACJC Journal, June/July, 1987, 5.

Ashcroft, John.  "Low Literacy Levels:  A Major Barrier to Productive Work."  Governors' Weekly Bulletin, February 6, 1987, 1-2.

Ashcroft, John.  "Commitment To State's Future Takes Resource Investment Now."  Missouri Republican, February, 1987, 4.

Ashcroft, John.  "Building Opportunity for Missouri."  Jefferson City News-Tribune, January 25, 1987, sec. B, p. 2.

Ashcroft, John.  "Does a Degree Tell Us What a College Student Has Learned?"  Article for publication by Missouri's major daily newspapers, September, 1986.

Ashcroft, John.  "Job Development Remains Top Priority."  The Labor Tribune, August 28, 1986, 14, 43.

Ashcroft, John.  "Ashcroft:  State Has What it  Needs to Compete."  Springfield Business Journal, January 6, 1986, 13-14.

Ashcroft, John D.  "Stand Firm in Integrity."  Pentecostal Evangel, November 10, 1985, 8-9.

Ashcroft, John.  "Possible Alternatives to Forced Busing."  In A Blueprint for Judicial Reform, ed. Patrick B. McGuigan and Randall R. Rader, 209-215.  Washington, D.C.:  The Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, Inc., 1981.

Ashcroft, John.  "A Renewed Commitment to State Antitrust Enforcement and a State Policy of Competition:  The Missouri Experience."  Missouri Law Review, 46 (Summer, 1981), 469-516.

Ashcroft, John.  "The Attorney General on 'Crime Prevention."  Retail Lines July, 1980, 4-5.

Ashcroft, John.  "The Wisdom of Solomon."  Interscholastic Athletic Administration, Spring, 1980, 5-6.

Ashcroft, John, and Daniel P. Card III.  "Quo Warranto."  The St. Louis Bar Journal, 24 (Winter, 1978), 22-30.

Selected Reports Issued:
(Generated during chairmanship of reporting organization)

Families First.  Report of the President's National Commission on America's Urban Families, January, 1993.

Redefining the Possible:  Achieving the National Education Goals.  Report of the National Governors' Association, August, 1992.

The Preservation of Excellence in American Higher Education:  The Essential Role of Private Colleges and Universities.  Report of the Education Commission of the States Task Force on State Policy and Independent Higher Education, 1990.

Drawing in the Family, Family Involvement in the Schools.  Report of the Education Commission of the States, 1988.

"Task Force on Adult Literacy."  In Making America Work:  Productive People Productive Policies, Bringing Down the Barriers.  Report of the National Governors' Association Task Force on Adult Literacy, August, 1987.

Annual State Publications:

Executive Budget FY 86 to 93.  January, 1985 to January, 1992.

Budget in Brief and Related Policy Proposals:

Foundations for the Future:  Facing Tomorrow--Educational Foundations for the Future, January, 1992.

Foundations for the Future:  Health Care Agenda--Access, January, 1992.

Foundations for the Future:  Restoring Expectations for Family Responsibility, January, 1991.

Medicaid:  Meeting the Challenge of Rising Costs,  January,1991.

Challenge and Opportunity, January, 1991.

Direction for Excellence:  Missouri's Education Reforms, January, 1990.

Direction for Welfare Reform:  Missouri's Learn fare Initiatives, January, 1990.

Direction for the Decade, January, 1990.

Missouri Tobacco Excise Taxes, January, 1989.

The Kansas City Missouri School District:  A Special Review, January, 1989.

Commitment to Progress, January, 1989.

Progress for Missouri's Excellence in Education, January, 1989.

Time on Task in Missouri's Public Schools, January, 1988.

Progress for Missouri, January, 1988.

Learn fare and Welfare to Work, January, 1988.

Building Missouri Opportunity, January, 1987.

Time on Task in Missouri's Higher Education, December, 1987.

Implementing Excellence, January, 1986.

Legislative and Budget Program, January, 1985.

End of Legislative Reports:

Facing Tomorrow:  Foundation for the Future, May, 1992.

Challenge and Opportunity, May, 1991.

Direction for the Decade, May, 1990.

Commitment to Progress, May, 1989.

Progress for Missouri, April, 1988.

Building Missouri Opportunities, June, 1987.

Implementing Excellence, April, 1986.

A Foundation for the Future, June, 1985.

Other Selected State Reports:

Measuring Missouri's Student Achievement:  Assessment of Key Skills and Care Competencies, October, 1991.

Stronger Families for a Strong Missouri:  A New Vision for Children's Services, October, 1991.

Governor Ashcroft's Drug Control Strategy, Part Three:  Making the Right Decisions, December, 1989.

Governor Ashcroft's Drug Control Strategy, Part Two:  Drug Users Create Drug Pushers, November, 1989.

Governor Ashcroft's Drug Control Strategy, Part One:  Help and Hope for Those Who Are Addicted to Drugs, November, 1989.

Summary Responses to the Recommendations of the Missouri Opportunity 2000 Commission, January, 1988.

MO Says NO . . . to Alcohol and Drug Abuse, March, 1987.

Representative Public Speaking Appearances

College Commencement and Convocation Addresses:

Northwest University Commencement, 2005
The Catholic University Commencement, 2002
Southern California College Commencement, 1991
Northwest Missouri State University Commencement, 1991
Westminster College, 1991
Lincoln University Commencement, 1991
William Jewell College Convocation, 1990
Wheaton College Commencement, 1990
Northwest College, Kirkland, Washington, 1990
Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, 1990
Denver Theological Seminary Commencement, 1990
Harris-Stowe State College Convocation, 1989
Evangel College Commencement, 1989
American Armenian International College Commencement, 1988
Bethany Bible College Commencement, 1986
Missouri Western State College, 1986
North Central Bible College Commencement, 1986
Sanford Brown College Commencement, 1986
Oral Roberts University Commencement, 1985
CBN University Commencement, 1985

State and Major City Prayer Breakfasts:

Cincinnati Prayer Breakfast, 2005
North Dakota Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, 1993
Massachusetts Governor's Prayer Breakfast, 1992
Worcester Mayor's Leadership Breakfast, Worcester, MA, 1992
International Christian Prayer Breakfast, Jerusalem, Israel, 1992
Virginia Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast, 1992
St. Paul/Minneapolis Prayer Breakfast, 1991
Washington Governor's Prayer Breakfast, 1991
National Day of Prayer Breakfast, Sacramento, CA, 1991
Illinois Governor's Prayer Breakfast, 1990
Iowa Prayer Breakfast, 1990
Chicago Leadership Prayer Breakfast, 1989
Montana Annual Prayer Breakfast, 1989
Colorado Prayer Luncheon, 1989
Idaho Governor's Prayer Breakfast, 1988
Maryland Governor's Prayer Breakfast, 1987
Alaska Governor's Prayer Breakfast, 1987
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Prayer Breakfast, 1987

Other Selected Addresses:

Texas Diversity & Leadership Conference, Houston, TX, 2008.

Rev. Thomas J. Furphy Lecture, DeSales University, 2007.

Europa Forum, Prague, Czech Republic, 2005, 2006, 2007.

Ordination Service for Southern California Assembly of God District Council, Anaheim, CA, keynote address, 1992.

Inauguration of Center for Business Ethics, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO, keynote address, 1991.

National Prayer Breakfast Media Dinner, Washington, D.C., keynote address, 1991.

National Prayer Breakfast Fellowship Dinner, Washington, D.C., 1991.

U.S.-Republic of China Joint Business Conference--Plenary, Salt Lake City, UT, keynote address, 1991.

National Student Leadership Forum Dinner, Washington, D.C., dinner address, 1991.

Conference on Federalism sponsored by the International Center, Moscow, USSR, 1991.

Samford University Sesquicentennial Celebration, Birmingham, AL, keynote address, 1991.

Annual Shareholders meeting for United Van Lines, Inc., & UniGroup, St. Louis, MO, keynote address, 1989.

"God Chose Dust," Inaugural church service for George H. W. Bush, The National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., homily, January 22, 1989.

Realities of Assessment in Higher Education Conference, St. Louis, MO, keynote speaker, 1989.

Association of Government Accountants National Convention, Los Angeles, CA, luncheon speech, 1989.

National Right to Life Banquet, Minneapolis, MN, keynote address, 1989.

Midwest College Placement Association Fall Conference, St. Louis, MO, keynote address, 1989.

National Alliance of Community and Technical Colleges Luncheon, St. Louis, MO, keynote address, 1988.

Inauguration of Reverend Hall at Assembly of God Theological Seminary, Springfield, MO, keynote address, 1988.

Evangelical Press Association Dinner, Springfield, MO, keynote address, 1988.

National PTA Conference Banquet, Salt Lake City, UT, 1988.

Duke University Gubernatorial Fellows Program, Durham, NC, address, 1987.

Annual Meeting of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Washington, D.C., luncheon address, 1987.

Midwest Economic Summit sponsored by American Legislative Exchange, Milwaukee, WI, keynote address, 1987.

Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Kansas City, MO, keynote address, 1986.

Association of Christian Schools International Convention, Overland Park, KS, keynote address, 1986.

National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering FORUM '86, St. Louis, MO, keynote address, 1986.

16th Annual Conference California Community College Trustees, San Diego, CA, featured panelist, 1986.

Westinghouse Corporation Stockholders Dinner, St. Louis, MO, keynote address, 1985.