News & Politics

District Tells Paul Zukerberg to Stop His Campaign for Attorney General

But Zukerberg says he’s not going to stop running for an election that might still not happen.

Photograph courtesy Paul Zukerberg.

Paul Zukerberg says he isn’t going to obey a message from the DC government ordering him to shut down his attorney general campaign, which he has been waging despite a very good chance the position won’t be on next year’s ballot.

Zukerberg, a criminal defense lawyer by trade, received an email today from the city’s Office of Campaign Finance telling him to stop raising or spending any money in his pursuit of becoming the District’s first elected attorney general. But in an interview, he says there’s little chance of that happening.

“I’m not suspending anything,” Zukerberg says. “I’m not going to stop campaigning.”

Zukerberg has been collecting signatures for ballot access since petitions became available on November 8, and is still the only candidate for attorney general listed by the DC Board of Elections. He is continuing to raise money through his campaign website, and says he’ll put even more of his own money into his campaign if he has to fund it that way.

The government’s letter comes a few weeks after a federal judge denied Zukerberg’s lawsuit contesting a DC Council bill delaying the attorney general election until at least 2018, even though voters in 2010 overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative setting the first attorney general vote for next year. The judge said Zukerberg cannot re-file his suit until the bill officially becomes law when Congress gives its stamp of approval, which would happen on December 20 at the earliest.

For now though, Zukerberg’s campaign—which he says is in compliance with all District election laws—has been scrubbed from the campaign finance office’s website. He says the order is a political attack from city officials who have been hesitant about an attorney general election, and he is planning to fight it in court.

“One thing is clear, the tyrants running this city will do anything to prevent the voters from electing an independent attorney general,” he says.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.