Day After Lawsuit Announced, LePage Continues Attack on AG's Office | NECN
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Day After Lawsuit Announced, LePage Continues Attack on AG's Office

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Maine Gov. Paul LePage has filed a lawsuit alleging Attorney General Janet Mills is abusing her power and that "her ideology just clouds her judgment to be a good lawyer."

    (Published Tuesday, May 2, 2017)

    A day after suing Maine's Democratic attorney general alleging abuse of power, GOP Gov. Paul LePage says her office is a place to put "aging ideologues," while she called his lawsuit a waste of state resources.

    Gov. LePage made the comments during a radio call-in show Tuesday morning.

    "Her ideology just clouds her ability to be a good lawyer," Gov. LePage said on WVOM radio.

    On Monday, LePage's attorney filed a lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court against AG Janet Mills. LePage accuses Mills of exceeding the scope of her authority, and breaching her duties of the office.

    The suit references a disagreement Mills and LePage had over President Trump's controversial travel ban. LePage wanted to file a legal brief supporting Trump's executive order, but Mills declined to represent the executive branch in that action.

    Instead, Mills signed on to an amicus brief opposing Trump's order. She advised the governor to seek outside legal counsel, and use contingency funds to pay for the legal costs.

    "She's saying, 'Go get your own lawyer, and I'm not going to pay for it,'" LePage said on WVOM. "She won't represent the executive branch, and that's just wrong."

    LePage said seeking outside legal counsel costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Mills told necn that it's her right to use that discretion.

    "I'm not obliged to carry out his political wishes, or his political agenda," said Mills. "This is a key part of the checks and balances that the Maine Constitution envisions."

    The suit, which represents the first time in Maine history that a governor has sued an attorney general, has left some party leaders shaking their heads.

    "Quite frankly, it's stunning," said House GOP leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "What we've seen is a deterioration of the relationship between the chief executive and the state's chief law enforcement official ... it's harmful for the state."

    Mills thinks LePage's case has no merit and is confident she will win.

    The governor said Tuesday the attorney general, currently elected by the legislature, should require statewide election or gubernatorial appointment. Lawmakers rejected his 2015 bill for a constitutional amendment allowing the latter.

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