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OAG Environmental Audits

   

Douglas F. Gansler

Douglas F. Gansler was elected to a second term as the Attorney General of Maryland on November 2nd, 2010. In that election, he was the only statewide candidate in the nation to run unopposed in both the primary and general elections. He credits that enviable position, and the 1.3 million votes he received, to the fine work of the entire staff at the Maryland Office of the Attorney General.

Douglas F. Gansler, Maryland Attorney General
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Since taking office in 2006, Attorney General Gansler has focused on environmental, consumer, and public safety issues. He has 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.

Attorney General Gansler recently ended his tenure as President of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). He served as Chair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA) until becoming President-Elect at the national organization. He also has chaired NAAG committees on Youth Access to Alcohol, the Environment and Energy.

Safeguarding Our Environment
Attorney General Gansler secured the largest air quality settlement of its kind in the history of the United States, a Maryland history-making water pollution penalty, the largest civil penalty ever levied for an oil spill in Maryland, and the largest asbestos penalty in Maryland history. Attorney General Gansler continues to conduct an audit of the tributaries that feed the Bay to identify polluters and take appropriate action.

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

Attorney General Gansler has also successfully championed innovative energy solutions, 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. 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 phosphorous out of the Chesapeake Bay, while providing Maryland farmers with an additional source of revenue. With this project, and others like it, the Attorney General hopes to demonstrate that it is possible to protect Maryland's environment while simultaneously strengthening its economy.


Fighting for Maryland's Homeowners, Consumers and Taxpayers

Since taking office, Attorney General Gansler has 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. In the fight against mortgage fraud alone he has recovered more than $1 billion in relief and assistance for Maryland homeowners. He has also secured close to $100 million fighting various other forms of fraud.

This work includes 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. This work also includes an agreement with all the major car rental companies to end usurious refueling rates, 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.


Protecting Maryland Communities, Online and Off

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

To promote the health and safety of Maryland teens, Attorney General Gansler has 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. This work led to an agreement with two of the largest alcohol manufacturers to stop the production and distribution of alcoholic “energy” drinks, 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.

Attorney General Gansler also established a statewide Internet safety initiative focused on school-aged children, shutdown an online anonymous gossip site being used to torment young students, helped eliminate the online illegal adult services section of Craigslist, 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. For this work, Attorney General Gansler received the Champion of Online Safety Award.

Recognizing that rapid developments in Internet technology and enterprise have created new and significant privacy risks for both consumers and corporations, Attorney General Gansler has 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. Attorney General Gansler has also made “Privacy in the Digital Age” his NAAG Presidential Initiative. The Initiative will explore the best ways to manage privacy risks - from geo-location tracking to cyberbullying, from data collection to data breaches - bringing the energy and legal weight of NAAG to investigate, educate, and take steps necessary to ensure that the Internet's major players protect online privacy and provide meaningful options for privacy control while continuing to enhance our lives and our economy.

Defending and Promoting Civil Rights

Attorney General Gansler has continued his long-standing commitment to civil rights. He created the first-ever Director of Civil Rights position in the Office of the Attorney General. He set up a Working Group on Lending Practices to reform sub-prime and predatory lending practices and a Voting Irregularities Task Force to address voter suppression issues in Maryland. He also published a groundbreaking report providing guidance on taser training protocols that is being used nationally by law enforcement, and a report that assists Maryland's institutions of higher education in legally developing and maintaining diversity. He continues to work for judicial election reform that will ensure diversity of the bench. 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, Attorney General Gansler was awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream Keeper's Award.

For a legal opinion that clarifies the full faith and credit provided to valid out of state same-sex marriages that provided the underpinning for a recent Maryland Court of Appeals decision recognizing same-sex marriages from other states, and for being the first statewide elected official in Maryland to support marriage equality, Attorney General Gansler received the Ally for Equality Award.


Making a Difference

Prior to becoming Maryland's Attorney General, Douglas Gansler served for eight years as the chief prosecutor in the largest jurisdiction in Maryland. Under his leadership, the Montgomery County State's Attorney's office was the first in the country to fully implement community-based prosecution, becoming a nationwide model for effective crime-fighting programs. Douglas 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.

Prior to being elected State's Attorney, Douglas Gansler was an Assistant United States Attorney. From 1992 to 1998, he prosecuted over 1,000 cases involving almost every type of crime, including public corruption, hate crimes, narcotic trafficking, sex offenses, child abuse, economic crimes, gang-related violence, and homicides.

In addition to his prosecutorial experience, Douglas Gansler has practiced civil litigation as of counsel in the law firm of Coburn and Schertler, and worked for two years as an associate at Howrey and Simon. Attorney General Gansler was selected as one of 24 elected leaders from throughout the country to serve as a Rodel Fellow with the Aspen Institute.

A life-long community volunteer, Attorney General Gansler founded a lacrosse league for underserved Baltimore inner-city youth, (Charm City Youth Lacrosse). He has mentored at-risk area youth, served on the Montgomery County Commission on Aging, and co-chaired the NAACP Criminal Justice Committee. 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.

Douglas Gansler attended the University of Virginia School of Law and Yale University, where he graduated cum laude and was an All-Ivy, All-New England lacrosse player. He is married to Laura Leedy Gansler, a securities lawyer and noted author. He coaches both his sons, Sam and Will, in a variety of sports.

 

 

 

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