Governor LePage Sends Letter to Legislative Leadership Regarding Attorney General’s Use of Settlement Funds

October 5, 2017

For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 5, 2017
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA —Governor Paul R. LePage sent a letter to Senate and House leadership today advising them that he has directed the Office of the State Controller to transfer more than $10 million out of a fiduciary account under the discretion of the Attorney General into an Other Special Revenue account as required by 5 MRS 203-A. The funds are the results of legal settlements the State of Maine received from the Volkswagen and Moody’s litigation.

“I recently learned that the funds were deposited in this fiduciary fund, which is not subject to appropriation/allotment control in the State’s accounting system,” stated Governor LePage. “The funds were deposited into an account that could be accessed and expended by the Attorney General without legislative or executive oversight, a situation I consider repugnant to the Constitution and the laws of the State of Maine. I therefore took the necessary executive action to protect these funds from expenditure until the Legislature makes a decision about whether it will check the Attorney General’s exercise of self-delegated discretion or not.”

The Attorney General drafted language in the settlements that allowed her to spend the money in her “sole discretion.” However, the Constitution unequivocally provides that “No money shall be drawn from the treasury except in consequence of appropriations or allocations authorized by law.”

Governor LePage added, “By way of my executive action, I am making no comment on whether the purposes for which the Attorney General wants to spend the money are appropriate. I maintain that the decision belongs to the Legislature and not the Attorney General.”

He continued, “Members of the Legislature, the question for you is this: did the Legislature intend to grant the Attorney General the unrestricted and unchecked authority to spend over 10 million in public dollars in any way she sees fit? If so, you need to make that intention clear and public because, at this point in time, I do not believe the relevant laws or the Maine Constitution gives her such broad and unrestricted discretion.”

Related Documents

Copy of Governor's Letter to Leadership on Settlement Funds