D.C. Council Chairman and mayoral candidate Vincent Gray has called on Attorney General Peter Nickles to resign. While there’s zero chance that Fenty’s right-hand man will be taking Gray’s advice, it’s about time the attorney general became a campaign issue.Nickles is one of the mayor’s biggest liabilities. He has managed to earn the wrath of several federal court judges and the disdain of the average citizen and reporter who’s just trying get a FOIA request fulfilled. He’s also pissed off a number of D.C. Councilmembers with his eye-roll-inducing explanations for the fire-truck giveaway, the mayor’s shady contracts with his frat brothers, and the destruction of evidence and discovery abuses in the Pershing Park case. Not to mention the recent settlement with Banneker Ventures while the D.C. Council continued to investigate the Fenty cronies.

Gray’s press release is sharp. It reads:

“‘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.  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.'”

Gray’s call for Nickles to go will be the easiest decision his campaign will ever have to make.

2:20 p.m. Update: Bruce DePuyt tweets Nickles react. Guess what? He ain’t quitting: “Peter Nickles tells NC8 Vince Gray ‘must have had heat stroke or something.’ Dismisses demand for his ouster as a ‘stunt.'”

Here’s the rest of the press release:

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

  • Nickles has politicized the Attorney General’s office in recent media interviews in which he has inappropriately (and perhaps illegally) inserted himself into political campaigns.
  • Nickles 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 (FOIA) requests.
  • In 2009, he 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.”

*file photo by Darrow Montgomery.