Doug Gansler

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Doug Gansler
AG Gansler at his desk.jpg
45th Attorney General of Maryland
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 2, 2007
Governor Martin O'Malley
Preceded by Joseph Curran
Personal details
Born (1962-10-30) October 30, 1962 (age 51)
Summit, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Laura Leedy
Children Samuel
William
Alma mater Yale University
University of Virginia
Religion Judaism
Website Government website
Campaign website

Douglas F. "Doug" Gansler (born October 30, 1962) is an American attorney politician who serves as the 45th and current Attorney General of Maryland. Gansler previously served as the State's Attorney for Montgomery County, Maryland from 1999 to 2007. He then won nomination in the state Democratic primary election for Attorney General and defeated Republican candidate Scott Rolle in the 2006 general election, taking 61% of the vote.[1] He was re-elected unopposed in the 2010 election.[2] Gansler is currently running for Governor of Maryland.[3]

Early life, education, and legal career[edit]

Born in Summit, New Jersey, Gansler attended Chevy Chase Elementary School in Montgomery County, Maryland, and then Sidwell Friends School, a Quaker school in the Washington, D.C. area, for grades 6-12. From Sidwell, Gansler went on to Yale University, where he was an All-Ivy, All–New England College lacrosse player, nurtured an interest in public service, and graduated cum laude.[4] Gansler earned a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. He was a law clerk to Hon. John F. McAuliffe, Judge on the Maryland Court of Appeals.[5]

After working for a brief period as a real estate lawyer at a title company[4] and at the law firms of Coburn & Schertler and Howrey & Simon, Gansler became an Assistant U.S. Attorney, serving from 1992 to 1998. There he prosecuted, among others, a Georgian diplomat who killed a young woman while driving drunk near Dupont Circle.[5]

Political career[edit]

State’s Attorney for Montgomery County[edit]

In 1998, Gansler was elected State's Attorney for Montgomery County, Maryland, serving from January 1999 to January 2007. While serving, he prosecuted several high-profile cases including the Beltway snipers, John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo.[6] Under his leadership, the office was the first in the nation to fully implement community prosecution.[7] Gansler also launched innovative and successful programs to fight gangs, punish criminals, and protect the public, including the first domestic violence dockets and first drug courts in the county, a first-in-the-state gang prosecution unit, the first Elder Abuse Task Force in Maryland to specifically target criminals preying on seniors, and the first Internet crime unit in the state.[5]

On one occasion during the eight years he served as State’s Attorney, the Maryland Court of Appeals sanctioned him for public statements he made about a possible confession and possible plea in a high-profile case involving the brutal beating and murder of a Maryland jogger.[8] He was the first elected State's Attorney to be sanctioned by the court.[9] Legal commentators noted at the time that the Court of Appeals’ controversial decision would have a chilling effect on public safety and the public’s right to know, and that the decision failed to account for prosecutors’ affirmative responsibility to report to the public on the prosecutions they carry out on its behalf.[10][11]

Attorney General of Maryland[edit]

Douglas F. Gansler being sworn in as Maryland Attorney General, January 2, 2007.

Gansler took the oath of office as Attorney General of Maryland on January 2, 2007.[12] Since being sworn in, he has focused on environmental protection, consumer protection, public safety, and civil rights.[12] He distinguished himself by prosecuting polluters of the Chesapeake Bay, protecting consumers from various forms of fraud, and safeguarding the public from gangs, violent crime, and the underbelly of the Internet.[12]

He was elected to a second term on November 2, 2010, receiving 1.3 million votes.[12] In that election, he was the only statewide candidate in the nation to run unopposed in both the primary and general elections.[12]

Environmental Protection[edit]

Gansler continues to protect the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, and Maryland’s other natural resources. He secured the largest air quality settlement of its kind in the history of the United States,[13] a Maryland history-making water pollution penalty,[14] the largest civil penalty ever levied for an oil spill in Maryland,[15] and the largest asbestos penalty in Maryland history.[16] He also secured $500,000 for water quality monitoring from an energy company that spilled hydraulic fracturing fluid into a tributary of the Susquehanna River, which feeds the Bay.[17] Gansler still conducts an audit of the Bay’s tributaries on a quarterly basis to identify polluters and take appropriate action.

Along with these and other significant enforcement victories against polluters, Gansler led the successful charge to have phosphates banned from dishwasher detergent[18] and arsenic banned from chicken feed,[19] and helped secure standing for environmental groups to sue polluters in State court.[20]

Gansler successfully championed innovative energy solutions that strengthen the state economy while helping the environment, such as hotel room key cards that cut the lights and automatically reduce energy consumption when an occupant leaves a hotel room, lowering hotels' energy bills in the process.[21] He also laid the groundwork for the construction of a power plant to convert 500 million pounds of chicken manure into energy, potentially keeping the single largest source of nitrogen and phosphorus out of the Chesapeake Bay, while providing Maryland farmers with an additional source of revenue.[22]

Consumer Protection[edit]

Since taking office, Gansler fought various forms of fraud that are threatening home ownership, contributing to the ever-rising cost of healthcare, and undermining the financial security and well-being of Marylanders. This work includes an agreement with all the major car rental companies to end usurious refueling rates,[23] and a settlement with all four major wireless carriers requiring disclosure of the terms of cell phone insurance, potentially saving Marylanders over $40 million and Americans over $2.4 billion.[24]

Home Ownership[edit]

In the fight against mortgage fraud, Gansler recovered nearly $1 billion in relief and assistance for Maryland homeowners.[25] He has also been aggressive in going after predatory lenders,[26] foreclosure scammers,[27] unscrupulous contractors,[28] and others who have made home ownership difficult.[29] His efforts have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for consumer victims.

Affordable Healthcare[edit]

Gansler worked to keep consumers safe from healthcare scams. This work included the largest recovery in a healthcare fraud investigation in U.S. history against a major pharmaceutical company that illegally marketed drugs at the expense of consumer safety.[30] It also includes multimillion dollar victories against healthcare providers who abused Medicaid at taxpayers’ expense,[31] and others that have preyed on the infirm.[32] Gansler also advocated for better healthcare options for Marylanders, both through his Health Education and Advocacy Unit,[33] and through his leadership in supporting broader healthcare solutions like the Affordable Care Act.[34]

To promote the health and safety of Maryland teens, Gansler led the effort to limit youth access to alcohol and tobacco by combating the marketing practices of alcohol and tobacco companies that target younger consumers.[35] This work led to an agreement with two of the largest alcohol manufacturers to stop the production and distribution of alcoholic “energy” drinks,[36] as well as an agreement with one of the largest gas station franchises in the world to curb tobacco sales to minors at its 13,000 outlets across the United States.[37]

Internet Privacy[edit]

Recognizing that rapid developments in Internet technology and enterprise have created new and significant privacy risks for both consumers and corporations, Gansler led state and national efforts to protect online privacy. For example, he led a charge by 36 state attorneys general to demand accountability from the nation's largest provider of Internet services when it unilaterally changed its privacy policy.[38] He also brought an action against a major retailer for an online breach that led to the theft of consumer credit card data from 100 million transactions.[39]

Public Safety[edit]

Upon taking office, Gansler established the first-ever Attorney General Gang Prosecution Unit in Maryland.[40] Gansler co-chairs the statewide Human Trafficking Task Force[41] and spearheaded tougher domestic violence laws through his role as Co-Chair of Maryland's Family Violence Council.[42][43]

Gansler also established a statewide Internet safety initiative focused on school-aged children,[44] shut down an online anonymous gossip site being used to torment young students, helped eliminate the online illegal adult services section of Craigslist,[45] and continues to work on a nationally coordinated effort targeting sexual predators who use social networking websites to lure victims. To date, tens of thousands of sexual predators have been removed from social networking sites as a result of this effort.[46] For this work, he received the Champion of Online Safety Award.[47]

Civil Rights[edit]

Gansler has a long-standing commitment to civil rights. This is reflected in his creation of the first-ever Director of Civil Rights position in the Office of the Attorney General.[48] He set up a Voting Irregularities Task Force to address voter suppression issues in Maryland,[49] and a Campaign Finance Advisory Committee to explore ways to ensure fair participation in the electoral process.[50] He also published a groundbreaking report providing guidance on taser training protocols that is being used nationally by law enforcement,[51] and a report that assists Maryland's institutions of higher education in legally developing and maintaining diversity.[52] He continues to work for judicial election reform that will ensure diversity of the bench.[53] For this work, as well as his successful efforts to increase diversity both in the Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office and the Office of the Attorney General, Gansler was awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream Keeper's Award.[54]

Same-Sex Marriage[edit]

Gansler was the first statewide elected official in Maryland to support marriage equality.[55] In 2010, Gansler issued a legal opinion that clarified Maryland’s ability to provide full faith and credit to valid out-of-state same-sex marriages.[56] That opinion provided the underpinning for a subsequent Maryland Court of Appeals decision recognizing same-sex marriages from other states.[57] For his early and strong support of marriage equality, Gansler received the Human Rights Campaign’s Ally for Equality Award.[58]

Gun Control[edit]

Gansler is a proponent of the Maryland State Police requirement for concealed carry permits, which states, a citizen must have a good and substantial reason in order to acquire the permit.[59]

Maryland Co-Chair, Obama Presidential Campaign[edit]

During the 2008 presidential election, Gansler was the first statewide official in Maryland to support Barack Obama,[60] and went on to be the Maryland Co-Chair, with Representative Elijah Cummings, of Obama’s Presidential Campaign.[61]

President of the National Association of Attorneys General[edit]

Gansler was elected to serve as President of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) in 2012.[62] He served as Chair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA)[63] until becoming President-Elect at the NAAG. He also chaired NAAG committees on Youth Access to Alcohol, the Environment and Energy.[64]

As President of NAAG, Gansler focused the organization’s attention on privacy in the Digital Age.[65] He formed a Committee on Internet Privacy at NAAG to keep close watch on developments in the Internet space that affect consumers’ control over their information, and headed several efforts to hold accountable those who fail to properly respect consumer privacy online. He called attention to companies that collect information from children in ways that appear out of compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.[66]

2014 Gubernatorial Race[edit]

Gansler formally announced his candidacy in the Maryland's 2014 Gubernatorial race to succeed Martin O'Malley, who is term limited, on September 24, 2013.[67] Gansler has a warchest of $5.2m and has said that he is "flattered by the depth and breadth of support I have received from all corners of Maryland".[68]

Controversies[edit]

Gansler was tape-recorded in August 2013 speaking disparagingly of his primary opponent in the 2014 Maryland gubernatorial race, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, who he accused of relying on race in the contest.[69] "I mean, right now his campaign slogan is, 'Vote for me, I want to be the first African American governor of Maryland,'" Gansler said.

Gansler irritated colleagues when he filed charges against the Beltway snipers, John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo.[70] More than a year after the snipers had been convicted in Virginia, Gansler held an additional trial in Maryland. Gansler states that the trial only cost taxpayers $2,000, however Sheriff Raymond M. Kight stated that the costs had exceeded $743,570, when taking into account costs such as overtime pay to provide security throughout the trial process.[6]

In 2003, he became the first sitting prosecutor in Maryland history to be censured by the state's highest court, for improperly discussing evidence, such as a defendant's confession, at news conferences "on more than one occasion" involving three criminal cases.[71][72]

Slate Magazine called him [73] "a near-perfect specimen of a classic political archetype—the prosecutor on the make," noting that "[h]e's smart, he's well-connected, he's telegenic, and he raises gobs of cash."

On October 12, 2013, The Washington Post published memos written by state troopers alleging that Gansler repeatedly requested officers assigned to him drive in an irresponsible manner.[74] A spokesperson for Gansler denied the reports.

On October 24, 2013, the National Journal published a photo showing Gansler at a house party attended by his son in Bethany Beach, Delaware, where underage drinking was taking place.[75] In response, Gansler said he was only there briefly, did not notice any underage drinking, and that even if he had, he did not have the "moral authority over other people's children" outside of Maryland.[76] Gansler later said that in hindsight he should have assumed there was underage drinking and should have discussed it with the chaperones.[77]

Personal life[edit]

Douglas F. Gansler at home with his sons Sam and Will, and his wife Laura.

Gansler is married to Laura Leedy Gansler, a securities lawyer and noted author.[78] He coaches both his sons, Sam and Will, in a variety of sports.

Gansler's father, Jacques Gansler, is Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park and former Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

Gansler founded a lacrosse league for Baltimore inner-city youth, called Charm City Youth Lacrosse.[79] He mentored at-risk area youth, served on the Montgomery County Commission on Aging, and co-chaired the NAACP Criminal Justice Committee.[80] For his work in establishing the Charm City Youth Lacrosse League, he received the “Innovator of the Year” award from Maryland's largest legal publication.[81]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Official 2006 Gubernatorial General Election results for Attorney General". Maryland State board of elections. Retrieved March 5, 2012. 
  2. ^ "2010 General Election Official Results". Maryland State board of elections. Retrieved March 5, 2012. 
  3. ^ Wagner, John (16 Sep 2013). "Gansler eyes several officeholders from Baltimore, Prince George’s as running mate". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Douglas Gansler, Lawyer, Statewide Title Company". Spoke.com. Retrieved March 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Gansler, Douglas. "Maryland Office of the Governor". Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Tallman, Douglas; Ford, C. Benjamin (August 2, 2006). "Gansler says sniper trial cost less than $2,000". Montgomery Gazette. Retrieved March 5, 2012. 
  7. ^ Gansler, Douglas (July–August 2000). "Implementing Community Prosecution in Montgomery County, Maryland". Prosecutor. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Attorney Grievance Commission v. Douglas F. Gansler" (PDF). September Term 2002. Misc. Docket AG No. 81. Retrieved March 5, 2012. 
  9. ^ Hurley, Lawrence (November 13, 2003). "Montgomery County State's Atty. reprimanded by Court of Appeals". Daily Record. 
  10. ^ White, George (December 2003). "Public Reporting or Flashy Quotes? The Gansler Reprimand". MDDC Press News. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
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  14. ^ Press Release. "Constellation, BBSS to Pay Hefty Fine and Clean Up Contaminated Site in Anne Arundel County". Maryland Office of the Attorney General, October 1, 2007. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
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  19. ^ Gansler, Douglas (June 26, 2009). "It’s Time to Ban an Arsenic Compound from Chicken Feed". Washington Post. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
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  28. ^ Press Release. "AG Gansler Issues Cease and Desist Order Against Contractors.". Maryland Office of the Attorney General. Retrieved November 29, 2012. 
  29. ^ Press Release. "Consumer Protection Division Orders Unregistered Home Builder to Pay Back More Than $835K". Maryland Office of the Attorney General. Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  30. ^ Press Release. "AG Gansler: Abbott Labs to Pay $1.5 Billion More for Medicaid Fraud". Maryland Office of the Attorney General, May 7, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
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  37. ^ "A.G. Gansler Announces Agreement With Shell Oil to Curb Tobacco Sales To Minors.". Baltimore Citybizlist. October 10, 2008. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
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  40. ^ Press Release. "Attorney General Gansler’s First Legislative Session a Success". Maryland Office of the Attorney General, April 11, 2007. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Human Trafficking". U.S. Department of Justice, updated December 6, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  42. ^ "Lt. Governor Brown, Attorney General Gansler Announce New Domestic Violence Laws.". Maryland Office of the Governor, September 29, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
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  44. ^ Press Release. "Attorney General Gansler Announces Internet Safety Videos Now Available on Comcast On Demand.". Maryland Office of the Attorney General, March 10, 2010. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  45. ^ "Gansler Asks Craigslist to Drop 'Adult Services' Section.". ABC2 News. August 30, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
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  77. ^ Wagner, John; Marimow, Ann E. (October 24, 2013). "Gansler says he should have checked drinking at party". The Washington Post. 
  78. ^ Gansler, Laura Leedy (2003). Class Action: The Landmark Case that Changed Sexual Harassment Law. Random house. p. 400. ISBN 978-0-385-49613-1. 
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External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Joseph Curran
Attorney General of Maryland
2007–present
Incumbent