A special prosecutor generally is a lawyer from outside the government appointed by an attorney general or, in the United States, by Congress to investigate a government official for misconduct while in office.
In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general or attorney-general is the main legal advisor to the government, and in some jurisdictions they may also have executive responsibility for law enforcement, prosecutions or even responsibility for legal affairs generally.
The United States of America, commonly referred to as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.
A lawyer is a person who practices law, as a barrister, attorney, counselor or solicitor or chartered legal executive.
A reasoning for such an appointment is that the governmental branch or agency may have political connections to those it might be asked to investigate.
Inherently, this creates a conflict of interest and a solution is to have someone from outside the department lead the investigation.
A conflict of interest is a situation in which a person or organization is involved in multiple interests, financial or otherwise, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation or decision-making of that individual or organization.
The term "special prosecutor" may have a variety of meanings from one country to the next, from one government branch to the next within the same country, and within different agencies within each government branch.
Critics of the use of special prosecutors argue that these investigators act as a "fourth branch" to the government because they are not subject to limitations in spending or have deadlines to meet.