Governor to Introduce Bill Addressing Attorney General’s Overreach of Authority

February 26, 2015

For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 26, 2015
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage today announced he is introducing legislation to prevent the Attorney General’s overreaching of authority.

The Governor’s proposed bill clarifies and restricts the scope of the Attorney General’s authority as it pertains to the receipt and spending of public dollars. Governor LePage initiated the bill as a result of Attorney General Janet Mills taking unilateral action after the State of Maine received a $21.5 million settlement.

In a letter to Legislative leadership, Governor LePage cites McGraw-Hill and Standard & Poor’s litigation in which an agreement of the settlement allocates to the State of Maine $21.5 million – “the largest ever one-time settlement in Maine history,” according to the Attorney General.

The settlement stipulates the amounts allocated to the State are to “be used or expended in any way permitted by applicable state law at each State’s sole discretion.” Instead, Attorney General Mills has reserved to herself “sole discretion” over how the money would be used within a list of specified purposes related to consumer protection, the Governor explains in the letter.

“She does not have the authority to take settlement proceeds on behalf of the state and unilaterally make policy decisions about how that money should be spent,” the Governor wrote to legislative leaders. “Not only does her action overstep her authority, but it is also repugnant to the constitution. As you well know, the constitution clearly asserts that the power to appropriate revenue is held exclusively by the Legislature and checked by the Executive.”