SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has sparked a financial dispute with a state agency better known for teaming-up with her on state pollution lawsuits. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) claims Madigan is trying to make up a budget cut of $2.5 million by splitting the state's settlements and fines 50/50 with the agency. The state's total take from pollutions suits previously went into a common fund. IEPA Chief Legal Counsel Robert A. Messina told Madigan in a letter last month that the agency would no longer refer cases to the AG's office until the dispute is resolved, Chicago media reported yesterday. The state collects $4 million annually from such actions. "It is extremely troubling that the attorney general would seek to enhance her operational budget by taking penalty dollars designated for other purposes," Messina wrote. "The budget process is a political one with issues to be resolved only through the political process - not by self-help." But Madigan's chief of staff, Ann Spillane, ripped Messina's missive. "It's a legally unsupported and ridiculous overreaction to our effort to make sure environmental enforcement is funded to protect the people and environment," she told the Chicago Sun-Times.