Republican Gov. Paul LePage wants to set aside $2 million in Maine’s budget to cover legal fees in cases not supported by the state’s top attorney, a Democrat who has disagreed with the governor on a number of issues during his first term.

The $6.3 billion budget proposal that LePage unveiled last week includes $1 million in each of the next two fiscal years for “legal contingencies in which the attorney general declines to represent the state.”

LePage’s administration said that the governor is pursuing an “aggressive agenda” and wants to ensure the funds are available if he must pursue outside counsel in the future.

But Tim Feeley, a spokesman for Attorney General

Janet Mills, called it “baffling and unprecedented” that the governor would need $2 million for private attorneys. 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 two offices.

LePage hired private lawyers last year to appeal the federal government’s denial of his request to remove about 6,000 young adults from the state’s Medicaid program, after Mills told the governor the case had “little legal merit” and wouldn’t be a good use of money.

His administration has also hired the firm to defend the state in a lawsuit filed by the Maine Municipal Association and two cities that are challenging the state’s policy to withhold general assistance benefits to immigrants who are living in the state illegally.

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