D.C. mayor-hopeful wants AG Nickles out

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jul 30, 2010


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - District of Columbia Council Chair and mayoral candidate Vincent Gray has called for the removal of the district's Attorney General Peter Nickles, saying he betrayed the public's trust.

In a statement released earlier this month, Gray said:

"Two years ago, I voted to confirm Peter Nickles as attorney general, with a belief and trust that he would put the interests of the people first, as required by D.C. law. There is no question about the fact that the attorney general's client is the District of Columbia, not the Mayor. That's what the Office of the General Counsel to the Mayor is for. The attorney general is supposed to be the people's lawyer.

"Unfortunately, it's become increasingly clear that Peter Nickles not only sees himself as the Mayor's lawyer, but also as the Mayor's political hatchet man, and enabler of the Mayor's cronyism. His politicization of the office is inappropriate at best, and illegal at worst," he said.

"And by protecting the Mayor's cronies, he has put the interest of the Mayor squarely ahead of the interest of his actual client. He has betrayed the public trust too many times to be an effective public advocate. Mayor Fenty should relieve him of his duties immediately."

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty nominated Nickles to the attorney general post in 2008 after Linda Singer resigned.

Gray said his comments come after a series of events in which "Nickles inappropriately politicized his role and facilitated the Mayor's cronyism."

The council chair contends the following:

-That Nickles has has politicized the attorney general's office in recent media interviews in which he has inappropriately -- and perhaps illegally -- inserted himself into political campaigns;

-That the attorney general has entered into a $550,000 settlement with Banneker Ventures, despite an ongoing city investigation into Banneker for potentially defrauding the public;

-Nickles has presided over a record number of improperly denied Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, requests; and

* In 2009, Nickles inappropriately hampered a D.C. Council investigation into the donation of a fire truck and ambulance to the Dominican Republic, by interfering with subpoenas issued for two city employees.

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