Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage has filed an "abuse of power" lawsuit against the state's Democratic attorney general for refusing to legally represent his administration in court on issues involving President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration.
LePage said in a statement that Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has repeatedly refused to represent the executive branch in court cases she does not agree with politically. He said these refusals have led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside attorneys fees.
"It is no secret that Attorney General Mills and I have differing political views, but that is not the issue," LePage said. "The problem is she has publicly denounced court cases which the Executive Branch has requested to join and subsequently refuses to provide legal representation to the State. This clear abuse of power prevents the chief executive from carrying out duties that, in his good faith judgment, are in the best interest of the people of Maine."
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Kennebec County Superior Court.
"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," Mills replied in a statement. "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."
Maine's attorney general is elected by a secret ballot of the Legislature. It is the only state to select its attorney general in this way. Most states hold statewide elections for attorney general or allow the governor to appoint someone to the role.