Karl A. Racine
Attorney General Karl A. Racine is the first elected Attorney General of the District of Columbia. With his inauguration at the beginning of 2015, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) began an era of independence for the agency and accountability to District residents.
As the chief legal officer for the District of Columbia, Attorney General Racine relies on his 25 years of legal and leadership experience to advise the Mayor and District agencies, defend the city in court and use the law to advance the public interest.
Prioritizing and Protecting the District’s Residents
Attorney General Racine has established four priorities for OAG.
- Data-driven juvenile justice reform.
- Protecting consumers from abusive tactics by unscrupulous businesses.
- Preserving affordable housing and protecting tenants in communities across the District.
- Advancing democracy and safeguarding public integrity.
In line with these priorities, Attorney General Racine has helped end mandatory shackling of juveniles appearing before D.C. Superior Court and expanded options for rehabilitating low-risk juvenile offenders. A diversion program that helps these young people get and stay on the right track has achieved a success rate of nearly 80 percent. Under Attorney General Racine, OAG has increased participation in the program five-fold, positively impacting young lives and increasing public safety.
In 2015 Attorney General Racine established a standalone Office of Consumer Protection within OAG focused on outreach, education and legal actions to protect consumers. He has brought tens of millions of dollars to the District through settlements and judgments in cases against corporate wrongdoers. In 2017 Attorney General Racine established the Public Advocacy Division to bring affirmative litigation to preserve affordable housing, protect residents against wage theft, safeguard the environment and ensure public integrity.
A Lifelong Resident with a Passion for Justice
A lifelong District resident, Attorney General Racine attended Murch Elementary School, Deal Junior High School, Wilson High School and graduated from St. John’s College High School. He played basketball in youth sports leagues across the city. Attorney General Racine’s deep commitment to equal justice was inspired by his parents, who fled authoritarian rule in Haiti to start a new life in the United States; and by the lawyers of the Civil Rights Movement, who used the law to effect positive social change. Attorney General Racine earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Attorney General Racine has broad and deep legal experience, with a career that spans representing indigent residents in the D.C. Public Defender Service and volunteering as a law student in a clinic supporting migrant farm workers’ rights to serving as Associate White House Counsel in the first Clinton Administration and practicing white-collar and commercial litigation with leading law firms. Attorney General Racine was the first African-American managing partner of a top-100 US law firm, Venable LLP, where he led a team of over 600 attorneys, and has also served on the District’s Judicial Nomination Commission.
Outside of his official role, he remains involved with a variety of causes, including youth literacy and mentoring.
More about Attorney General Racine’s Priorities:
- Juvenile Justice: In an effort to support the juvenile justice system in its goal to both promote public safety and put children back on the right path, Attorney General Racine has instituted a number of successful reforms, including: ACE Diversion, Reforming Juvenile Shackling, Restorative Justice and more. He has also promoted Violence Interruption as a model for reducing crime and the childhood trauma that inhibits young lives.
- Consumer Protection: In an effort to protect District consumers and vulnerable communities preyed upon by scammers, Attorney General Racine established the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) to mediate disputes, educate residents, and if necessary file enforcement actions against individuals and companies who defraud District residents. Visit the OCP Homepage.
- Affordable Housing: In an effort to address the District’s affordable housing crisis, in which many longtime residents can no longer afford to stay in the city and are being left out of the city’s economic boom, Attorney General Racine is making it a priority to preserve existing housing and promote the construction of new housing for low- and middle-income residents. Learn about what tenants can do to protect themselves and how OAG can help.
- Public Integrity: In an effort to ensure that the District and those doing business in the District operate with the highest integrity, Attorney General Racine is working on comprehensive campaign finance reform. He has also bolstered OAG’s efforts to fight fraud against District taxpayers, including non-resident tuition fraud, False Claims Act cases, fighting Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) fraud, and other efforts.
- In the Public Interest: Midterm Report: Learn more about how the OAG has moved the District forward and benefitted residents over its first two years as an independent agency under the leadership of Attorney General Racine.