Alaska Senate Candidate Joe Miller Accused of Past Ethics Violation

Documents show the Alaska Senate hopeful admitted to lying about improperly using work computers.

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BY Sean Alfano
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Rising Tea Party star Joe Miller finds himself in hot water after documents released Tuesday show he admitted to lying about using work computers in an effort to sabotage an Alaskan political official's career.

The timing could not be worse for Miller, the GOP nominee for Senator in Alaska, engaged in a tight, three-way race with both his Democratic opponent and the incumbent he upset in the Republican primary, Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

[Read more about the 2010 midterm elections.]

Miller was suspended for three days and placed on probation for six months in 2008, records show, for lying about using three co-workers' computers at the Fairbanks North Star Borough, where he worked part-time as an attorney, to vote in an online poll.

The votes were apparently connected to an attempt to remove state Republican Party chairman Randy Ruedrich from his post ahead of the 2008 state GOP convention.

"I acknowledge that my access to others' computers was wrong, participating in the poll was wrong, lying was wrong, and there is absolutely no excuse for any of it," Miller wrote in a letter to Borough Attorney Rene Broker.

"I lied about accessing all of the computers. I then admitted about accessing the computers, but lied about what I was doing. Finally, I admitted what I did," he said.

After using the computers, Miller cleared the caches to cover his tracks.

However, he was quickly caught by one of his fellow attorneys.

"He admitted he was on all our computers," Jill Dolan told investigators. "He maintained the whole time he did not violate the computer use policy and that actually all of us did for not securing our computers."

She said his reason for using the different computers was so he could vote more than once.

Dolan continued: "I explained to him I am not a political person and that I did not appreciate him injecting me into this mess by making it look like I voted in some poll to oust Ruedrich."

The Associated Press, the Alaska Dispatch, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and the Anchorage Daily News obtained the records through a lawsuit.

Miller, who at the time of the incident told Dolan he was "being stressed and stupid," on Tuesday fired back, saying he was being unfairly targeted.

"I appear to be the only candidate in this Senate race whose entire life history matters to the media," Miller said in a statement.

Murkowski, who has hammered Miller, a West Point and Yale Law School grad, over his time working for the borough, blasted her opponent's questionable ethics.

"The bottom line is Joe cheated," Murkowski said in a statement. "He lied, tried to cover it up, lied again, then finally got caught and had to admit it, just as he lied to Alaskans when he initially denied any problems with his employment at the Borough, claiming his record was 'exceptional' and 'second to none.'"