County prosecuting attorneys and sheriffs have primary responsibility for enforcing Idaho laws. The Office of Attorney General can investigate and prosecute cases at the county level in limited circumstances, when a statute grants the Attorney General concurrent jurisdiction or when local authorities request assistance for a specific case.
Since 2014, the Office of the Attorney General has had the authority to investigate violations of state criminal law by elected county officials.
In order for the Office of the Attorney General to investigate, a complaint must meet three criteria:
- The complaint must be made against an elected county official. In Idaho, this includes commissioners, prosecuting attorneys, sheriffs, clerks, assessors, treasurers and coroners.
- The complaint must include an allegation of criminal conduct. Under the public corruption statute, the Attorney General is not authorized to investigate violations of civil law, including open meeting or public record violations.
- The alleged offense must have occurred while the commissioner, prosecuting attorney, sheriff, clerk, assessor, treasurer or coroner in question was serving in their official capacity.
If a complaint does not meet all three of these criteria, the public corruption statute does not authorize the Office of the Attorney General to investigate.