A Portland law firm is suing Gov. Paul LePage’s office, saying it’s not complying with the state’s Freedom of Access law.

The firm, Andrew Schmidt Law, said it has been trying since November to get information behind LePage’s decision to join in two lawsuits and also withdraw from a refugee resettlement program. According to the suit, the governor’s office has acknowledged receipt of the FOAA request and in January said it would provide the information by March 22 at a cost of $30, but hasn’t yet turned over the documents.

Peter Mancuso, the lawyer in the firm who filed the suit, said the law firm hasn’t gotten an explanation why the governor’s office is taking so long to fulfill the request. He said the firm even eased off in pushing for the material early this year because the governor’s office put a new person in charge of responding to Freedom of Information requests.

“We’ve given them a number of opportunities to respond,” Mancuso said.

“We just haven’t seen any of it,” he said, referring to the information requested.

LePage administration officials did not respond to several emailed requests for comment on the suit Wednesday.

The lawsuits LePage lent his name to were a challenge to same-sex marriage in Mississippi and a transgender rights dispute in Texas. The suits list him as among those supporting the states’ positions in those suits.

One suit was an appeal filed by the state of Mississippi against a federal court ruling that struck down that state’s “religious freedom” law, which allowed public employees to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The other was a suit filed by 10 states against the Obama administration over a federal directive ordering public schools allow transgender students use bathrooms or locker rooms that match their gender identity.

The governor’s interest in those out-of-state lawsuits has sparked controversy in Maine and fed an ongoing feud between LePage and the state’s attorney general.

LePage last week filed suit against Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, saying her refusal to represent his office in those federal suits has led to the state paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire law firms to assist in those filings. Mills responded by saying her office’s duty is to represent the public interest and she has never turned down approval of LePage’s office hiring outside counsel to assist him in signing on to the other suits.

LePage has also complained about Mills’ support for a suit by Washington state challenging President Trump’s ban on travel from predominantly Muslim Middle Eastern countries. LePage sought Mills’ approval to hire private attorneys to file briefs on the state’s behalf in support of Trump, but Mills said the request was moot because a federal court in Washington state had put a hold on Trump’s order. LePage has reiterated his request for funds for private lawyers because the case is still pending, despite the court’s stay.

The Attorney General’s office also did not respond to an email seeking comment Wednesday.

In the Freedom of Information case, Mancuso said his law firm wants to see what considerations went into LePage’s decisions to join those suits in other states and how much money was spent in those efforts.

He said the suit does not focus on LePage’s decision to back the states in the other suits, but only on the failure of the governor’s office to respond to his requests for documents, especially since the office promised the information would be delivered nearly two months ago.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]