Republican Gov. Paul LePage wants to set aside $2 million in Maine's budget to cover legal fees for cases in which the state's top attorney declines to represent the state.
LePage's administration said that the governor is pursuing an "aggressive agenda" and wants to ensure funds are available if he must pursue outside counsel in the future.
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But a spokesman for Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat, called the governor's proposal "baffling and unprecedented." He said there have only been two cases in which the attorney general has authorized LePage to hire outside counsel because of a disagreement between the offices.
The proposal is part of LePage's $6.3 billion spending plan that was unveiled last week and must be approved by the Republican-led Senate and the Democratic-controlled House.