AUGUSTA — Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills says a state commission intentionally violated the law by excluding the public from an April meeting.

Her office Friday filed a civil complaint in Maine district court seeking an up-to $500 fine against a commission tasked with reforming public education funding. A July 25 court appearance is scheduled in Augusta.

The complaint claims days before the meeting, an assistant attorney general told commission chairman William Beardsley — who leads the Department of Education — that the meeting was a public proceeding.

The complaint says commission staff then changed the meeting’s location and called it an informal “‘reception.'”

Mills said the commission was clearly conducting public business.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage, whose office declined to comment, withdrew the executive branch from the commission following media attention.

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