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LePage, Attorney General Clash Over Authority

AUGUSTA, Maine — Republican Gov. Paul LePage and Democrat Attorney General Janet Mills are at odds again over the attorney general’s authority over hiring attorneys. And the rhetoric on both sides is getting heated.

LePage’s chief legal counsel, Cindy Montgomery, wrote Mills saying the administration does not trust her or her staff. Mills says that is offensive to the professional staff of her office.

“Is she suggesting we can’t be trusted to enforce the child protection laws, child support laws, the homicide laws, the drug laws?” Mills says.

A request for an interview with Montgomery was not granted.

This is not the first time the LePage administration has clashed with Mills over legal representation. Mills says her responsibility under the state constitution is to make sure all legal representation of the state is of highest quality, and that when she and LePage have clashed over a legal interpretations, she has always authorized he employ outside counsel.

“There is one constitutional office designated for that purpose and it is part of the checks and balances embodied in the constitution of Maine, that there be an independent constitutional office of the attorney general,” Mills says.