The Public Advocacy Section investigates law violations and litigates civil cases in the areas of consumer protection, fraud against the government, charities, antitrust, and tobacco. The section prosecutes a wide range of cases against unlawful business practices, including cases seeking injunctions, civil penalties, and restitution. The section also represents the District in proceedings before the Public Service Commission.
The section’s investigations are often conducted in coordination with state assistant attorneys general working in multistate groups.
The section maintains a consumer hotline and conducts informal mediations to resolve consumer complaints involving products or services sold in or from D.C. A consumer complaint form and topical consumer information is available on the section-sponsored Consumer Protection on the DC.gov website.
Recent examples of the section’s work include:
- Introducing enforcement initiatives to halt deceptive and abusive practices relating to mortgage foreclosures.
- Obtaining a multi-million dollar recovery from a pharmaceutical manufacturer for marketing a drug for uses not approved by the FDA.
- Bringing a successful lawsuit against an elected official for embezzling government grant money intended for youth sports.
- Securing a court-ordered receivership over a neighborhood social services organization that had become dysfunctional and inactive.
- Winning a summary judgment that found the major online travel companies liable for failing to pay sales taxes on the entire amounts charged for D.C. hotel rooms.