The Justice Department has accused the state of Ohio in an extremely rare civil suit of overcharging the Army for the use of a National Guard training camp.

The $8.4 million lawsuit, filed Friday under the False Claims Act, accuses the Ohio state government of overcharging the Army's National Guard Bureau for the costs of labor, utilities and materials at Camp Perry in northwest Ohio.

Under the law, the federal government may seek treble damages -- in this case $6 million -- for alleged overcharges. The suit also seeks $2.4 million in penalties for 229 alleged instances of false claims between 1980 and 1987.

The False Claims Act is commonly used against private contractors for overbilling the government. Its use against a state government is "extremely rare," the Justice Department said.

Brig. Gen. Thomas Schulte of the Ohio National Guard declined comment.

Among other things, the lawsuit accuses Ohio of billing the National Guard Bureau $315,568 between 1981 and 1987 for costs of annual rifle matches staged by the Army's director of civilian marksmanship.

"In spite of the fact that the state knew that these costs had been billed to. . . the director of civilian marksmanship, the state submitted vouchers for the same costs to the National Guard Bureau," said the suit filed in Columbus.