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Hey, what’s this about electing an attorney general?
One of the sleeper stories of this election cycle has been that the 4 or 5 dozen voters who actually vote in the general election could decide if the District moves from having an appointed attorney general or an elected one.
The current but soon to be former attorney general, Peter Nickles, said on Newstalk with Bruce DePuyt this morning that it’s a bad idea for three reasons.
Number one: an elected A.G.’s office will attract politicians who are looking to move up to the mayor’s office, and will be guiding by doing what’s politically expedient rather than what’s right. Number two: an elected A.G.’s office will be costly, as the mayor will then need his own independent set of lawyers. “Number 3, we’ll skip because we don’t have enough time,” Nickles told DePuyt. (LL has a call in to Nickles, and will update if he calls back with reason No. 3.)
Nickles also said that “it may very well have been” that the Council approved the proposal to elect an A.G. solely because of him. A fiery Nickles (is there any other kind?) said he’d gone after slum lords, shady used car salesmen, and other ne’er-do-wells, pissing off “the forces, the vested interests,” who are pushing the elected A.G proposal.
Councilmember Phil Mendelson says he introduced the proposal before Nickles was even nominated because it’s a good idea on its own. But, he adds, “one could say the council is willing to go there” because of their low opinion of Nickles.
In fact, in this post-electoral season of political happy talk—see yesterday’s stage-managed cordiality at the Michelle Rhee resignation event—Nickles remains the great polarizer of D.C. politics. Not that some folks aren’t trying to change the subject. After today’s Democratic Party unity event, LL found himself chatting with D.C. Democratic State Committee Executive Director David Meadows, who was arguing that the elected-A.G. proposal wasn’t just about Nickles.
Then Almost Mayor Vince Gray walked by. When Meadows sought some back up from Gray, a laughing Gray gave this answer instead: “Yes it is the one person, who is in there now.”