North Carolina’s legal aid groups were puzzled when lawmakers this summer cut state funding to help poor clients with legal troubles. Now a top legislator has disclosed some reasons why it happened.

The House removed a provision from the state budget that had set aside money from part of court fees. The money went to three groups that help low-income people with civil matters.

House Speaker Tim Moore recently said that reports of overzealous legal aid attorneys are one of the reasons for the cut. He mentioned a case where he says small-time landlords faced extensive demands and frivolous motions from legal aid attorneys.

Leaders of legal aid groups defended their work, saying that keeping families from eviction prevents poverty and other societal troubles.