WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine today announced the release of “In the Public Interest,” a midterm report that highlights the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) accomplishments in its first two years as an independent agency. The report also outlines a vision moving forward to continue promoting and defending the public interest of the District of Columbia.
“I am extremely proud of what our office has accomplished so far, and I know that we are prepared for the important work still ahead of us,” said Attorney General Racine. “I am eager to continue my work on behalf of all District residents by ensuring public integrity, protecting consumers, and making sure that the District is a safe and welcoming city for all. My promise to District residents is that I will continue to work as hard as I can to defend and promote the public interest while continuing to grow our office into a first-class public law firm.”
When he took office in January, 2015, Attorney General Racine prioritized using OAG’s resources to implement data-driven reforms to public safety and juvenile justice, elevate and enhance the office’s consumer-protection efforts to help the District’s most vulnerable residents, bring legal actions to protect affordable housing, and enhance efforts to safeguard public integrity. Since then, OAG has made great strides in advancing these priorities:
- Reforming Juvenile Justice: Attorney General Racine and OAG worked to end D.C. Superior Court’s blanket practice of shackling youth in hearing appearances and significantly increased the rate at which the District diverts low-level, non-violent juvenile offenders out of traditional prosecution and into services and supports tailored to help them succeed. Data shows that these interventions help keep our communities safe by ensuring that these young people get on and stay on the right path—with success rates much higher than those associated with traditional prosecution and punishment.
- Preserving Affordable Housing: Attorney General Racine and his team held neglectful landlords accountable and preserved existing affordable housing by bringing legal action against the owners of two apartment complexes in Ward 8. These landlords forced tenants to live in deplorable conditions, including years of non-working heating and air conditioning, leaky ceilings, and mold infestations.
- Protecting Consumers: Attorney General Racine established a dedicated Office of Consumer Protection within OAG. This office zealously protects District residents from bad businesses and fraudsters, pursues litigation against scammers, educates consumers about their rights, and brings millions of dollars to District residents and taxpayers.
- Safeguarding Public Integrity: In an effort to ensure honest government, Attorney General Racine introduced comprehensive campaign finance reform legislation that will require more transparency and end both the appearance and reality of pay-to-play politics in the District.
OAG’s Vision Moving Forward
Over the next year, OAG will expand initiatives that employ data-driven prosecution strategies to increase public safety; bolster its community engagement efforts; redouble its efforts to author and pass meaningful legislation to help District residents; and improve retention and recruitment of top talent for OAG.
“All of the important work that helped move the District forward over the past two years would not have been possible without the tremendous efforts of the OAG staff,” said Attorney General Racine. “Our employees are our best and most important resource, and I thank them for the extraordinary work they do day in and day out on behalf of the District of Columbia.”