Consumer advocate and presidential spoiler Ralph Nader has posted a letter to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty demanding the firing of his general counsel and acting attorney general, Peter Nickles.

Nickles has been in the news of late thanks to the resignation of former attorney general Linda Singer, who allegedly had difficulty running her office without Nickles’ interference.

The letter, signed by Nader and associate Robert Weissman alleges that Nickles “on several occasions engaged in extracurricular activities beyond his job description — and exceeding his authority.”

Even more seriously, he blocked numerous ideas from your Attorney General Linda Singer and her associates to initiate aggressive litigation strategies to hold corporations accountable for harming District residents and depriving the District government of tax revenues. Perhaps Mr. Nickles’ experience as a career corporate litigator with Covington & Burling actually interfered with his “good judgment” in these cases.

Nickles was back in the news today for firing Alan Morrison, whom Singer had tapped to argue the District’s case before the Supreme Court on the handgun ban. That seems to have been the proximate reason for the letter.

Full letter after the jump.

Ralph Nader Robert Weissman P.O. Box 19312 Washington, DC 20036

January 2, 2007

Mayor Adrian Fenty John A. Wilson Building 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 600 Washington, DC 20004

Dear Mayor Fenty,

We are writing to urge you to dismiss immediately Peter Nickles from his position as Acting Attorney General and as general counsel.

Mr. Nickles contends in a recent Washington Post story that he provides you and the District with vital, experience-based good judgment. But his actions while serving in your administration belie this claim, and show instead that he is unfit for the responsibility you have entrusted to him — as well as that which he has aggregated for himself.

As general counsel, Mr. Nickles on several occasions engaged in extracurricular activities beyond his job description — and exceeding his authority.

Even more seriously, he blocked numerous ideas from your Attorney General Linda Singer and her associates to initiate aggressive litigation strategies to hold corporations accountable for harming District residents and depriving the District government of tax revenues. Perhaps Mr. Nickles’ experience as a career corporate litigator with Covington & Burling actually interfered with his “good judgment” in these cases; whatever the reason, he obstructed Attorney General Singer from undertaking the innovative initiatives that she was uniquely well equipped to bring forward. It is well understood that Ms. Singer resigned as Attorney General because of Mr. Nickles’ regular interference with her ability to carry out her statutory duties.

Now, as acting attorney general, Mr. Nickles has dismissed Alan Morrison, one of the most accomplished Supreme Court advocates of the last quarter century. Mr. Nickles inappropriately disparaged Attorney General Singer for her relative youth and lack of trial experience. What rationale does he proffer for firing Mr. Morrison — other than that Mr. Morrison served as counselor to Ms. Singer? In what conceivable way is he aiding the District by firing Mr. Morrison in advance of a crucially important gun control case that Mr. Morrison was to argue soon before the Supreme Court?

“What you pay for in a good lawyer is judgment,” Mr. Nickles told the Washington Post.

You are not receiving good judgment.

Your tenure as mayor will continue to be undermined so long as Mr. Nickles possesses such at-large power within the District government. Unless, that is, Mr. Nickles only does what you tell him to do.

Sincerely,

Ralph Nader Robert Weissman