AUGUSTA – Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration has gotten approval to spend up to $5,000 to defend a state commission against a $500 fine lodged by Maine’s Democratic attorney general.

A hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 12-13 at Kennebec County Superior Court.

Attorney General Janet Mills filed a civil complaint claiming a commission tasked with reforming public education funding intentionally violated the law by excluding the public from an April meeting.

LePage withdrew the executive branch from the commission following media attention. His chief legal counsel, Avery Day, is representing the commission.

On July 8, the attorney general’s office authorized the commission to contract with Bangor lawyer Erik Stumpfel at an hourly rate of $225. The authorization includes mileage reimbursement and ends next July.

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