Attorney General Mills Claims She Does Not Have to Answer to Elected Officials
October 31, 2018
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531
AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage is seeking to expedite the appeal in his lawsuit against Attorney General Janet Mills, who routinely ignores the restraints placed on her office by the Maine Constitution and Legislature and who operates as if she is a superior and independent branch of government.
Governor LePage's appeal with the Law Court is based on the Attorney General having exceeded her authority by bringing a federal suit in a different state on behalf of the people of Maine without being directed to do so by the Governor or Legislature.
"The Attorney General's position is that she can join any out-of-state lawsuit, for any reason, at any time, at any cost, as long as she says it's in the people's interest. That doesn't pass the straight-face test," stated Governor LePage. "Janet Mills contends that her actions are not subject to the authority of the duly elected representatives of the Maine people, the Governor and the Legislature. As AG, Janet Mills acts as the de facto fourth branch of government, and she claims no one has veto power over her actions. She has gone completely rogue, and she believes she is above the law."
The statute (5 MRS sec. 191) states, "The Attorney General or a deputy, assistant or staff attorney shall appear for the State . . . in all the courts of the State and in those actions and proceedings before any other tribunal when requested by the Governor or by the Legislature or either House of the Legislature."
"This is a serious constitutional question, especially where the potential exists for Maine to have divided government between parties in the Executive Branch and the Legislature," said Governor LePage. "The lawsuits where the Executive Branch and the AG are on opposing sides of the same lawsuit boil down to disagreements over policy. It's not in the best interest of the people of Maine to be on both sides of the same lawsuit and paying to be on both sides. The law is clear about how the determination as to the state's representation must be made: the AG must ask the Governor or the Legislature to join these out of state lawsuits."
Governor LePage's reply to the motion to expedite and Attorney General Mills's response to the motion are available below.