Racine says It’s Too Early to Think about It, But He Sure Sounds Like a Candidate
By Larry Janezich
Karl Racine had a busy day last Monday. Mid-day, he was on the steps of the Supreme Court, announcing along with Texas State Attorney General Paxton an antitrust investigation of Google and Facebook filed with 48 other State and Territory Attorneys General. And yet, there he was at 7:00pm in the DCRA HQ in Southwest, in response to a request from ANC6D Chair Gail Fast to give a presentation about the work of the Office of the Attorney General. He sat patiently, with about 80 other attendees, through 20 minutes of introductions and community announcements by commissioners and members of the community before taking the podium to give an overview of how his office operates and how he has used the law for the benefit of the city’s residents.
He said that the 2014 election when he was elected demonstrated that DC residents wanted an AG “answerable to the people and not to the boss. People wanted an independent Attorney General with resources to work in the public interest for DC residents.” His mission, as he sees it, is to maximize use of the law in way to “help those of us more vulnerable than others.” Racine cited examples:
Affordable housing – his office went after slum lords like Sanford Capitol and pushed them out of the District for seven years.
Workers’ rights – he pursued wage theft and worker mis-classification, bringing suit against Power Design which relied on wage theft as a business model.
Consumer protection – his office mediates residents’ complaints to bring resolution to complaints without filing a law suit.
Elderly Abuse – the office’s Elderly Abuse Prevention Section has detailed an assistant to the office of the US Attorney to prosecute scammers taking advantage of elders.
Public Safety – he stated his deep commitment and noted his office’s limited prosecutorial ability: all juvenile cases (“wrapping arms around juveniles who touch the justice system can avert a lot of potential dangers”) and 25% of adult misdemeanors. (The Office of the US Attorney General prosecutes adult felonies in the District.)
In addition, Racine noted that he had sued Facebook, is investigating Google for anti-competitive activities, and has been active in suits against the Trump administration regarding immigration and student borrowers.
In response to a question from a commissioner, Racine took a deep dive into the controversial Second Look Act, expressing some reservations, and calling out the US Attorney’s Office for misrepresentation regarding law enforcement issues in the District.
After the meeting, CHC asked Racine if he is going to run for Mayor. He said, “It’s way too early to think about anything like that.” Maybe. But it didn’t look that way Monday night.