Alberto R. Gonzales is the 80th and current Attorney General of the United States.
Gonzales was an attorney in private practice from 1982 until 1994 with the Houston law firm Vinson and Elkins, where he became a partner. In 1994, he was named general counsel to then-Texas Governor George W. Bush, rising to become Texas Secretary of State in 1997 and finally to be named to the Texas Supreme Court in 1999, both appointments made by Governor Bush.
Upon assuming the presidency, George W. Bush appointed Gonzales as White House Counsel and later as Attorney General, replacing John Ashcroft. He is known as a strong defender of executive power and has been criticized for his use of the USA Patriot Act to secretly pry out personal information about Americans in terrorism investigations. He is currently under scrutiny for the Justice Department’s dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys in December 2006, which have allegedly been politically motivated.