AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Governor Paul LePage says he has filed a lawsuit against Maine Attorney General Janet Mills. The complaint, filed today in Kennebec County Superior Court, accuses Mills of abuse of power.
Lepage claims Mills refused to represent the administration in court cases she does not agree with politically. According to the Governor, her refusal to provide legal representation of the State, in accordance with statute, leaves all State agencies, the Governor and the Executive Branch without legal representation. The lawsuit claims her refusals have resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside attorney fees, which Maine taxpayers are forced to pay.
“It is no secret that Attorney General Mills and I have differing political views, but that is not the issue,” said Governor LePage. “The problem is she has publicly denounced court cases which the Executive Branch has requested to join and subsequently refuses to provide legal representation for the State. This clear abuse of power prevents the Chief Executive from carrying out duties that in his good faith judgment is in the best interest of the people of Maine.”
Mills released the following statement Monday afternoon:
The Attorney General represents state government and the public interest in thousands of matters every year. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has recognized the unique role of the Attorney General as an independent Constitutional Officer and her duty to represent the public interest. Superintendent of Insurance v. Attorney General, 558 A.2d 1197 (Me. 1989).
The Attorney General has never denied the Governor the ability to retain outside counsel in any particular matter. We have simply said that whoever the Governor chooses should be licensed to practice law and should carry malpractice insurance, two common sense prerequisites which any prudent business person would employ as well.
Instead of signing onto another party’s brief at no cost to the taxpayers, however, or hiring a lawyer to draft his own brief, the Governor has wasted state resources by hiring a lawyer to file a frivolous law suit, complaining that he cannot do exactly what we have told him he can do.
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