Michael Gaynor
Now Sarah Palin's got a big Joe Miller problem
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By Michael Gaynor
October 29, 2010

Palin has a BIG Joe Miller problem now. How she handles it should tell us whether she's presidential.

Now that political commentators have acknowledged that Sarah Palin may be the favorite for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination if she wants to run, she is facing a big Joe Miller problem.

What did she know about Miller's administrative leave without pay and when did she know it?

What should she have known?

What will she do now that it is public knowledge that Miller is an admitted liar and cover upper?

Without Sarah Palin's strong support, it is likely that Senator Lisa Murkowski would have beaten Joe Miller in the Alaska Senate Republican primary.

Jill Burke and Patti Epler, "Miller: 'I lied about accessing all of the computers'" (October 26, 2010) (http://alaskadispatch.com/dispatches/politics/7283-miller-i-lied-about-accessing-all-of-the-computers)"

"U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller was placed on administrative leave for 15 days and suspended without pay for three days in March 2008 for using co-workers' computers at the Fairbanks North Star Borough in an effort to influence Republican Party politics, according to records released Tuesday by the borough under court order.

"In March 2008, just days before the Alaska Republican Party's annual convention, Miller was hosting a poll on his personal website, joemiller.us, that was aimed at ousting party chairman Randy Ruedrich. On March 12, while other employees were at lunch and Miller was alone in the office, he used three of his co-workers' computers to vote in his own poll. He tried to cover up the deceit by clearing the caches on the computers, the records show.

"In a March 17, 2008 e-mail to his borough attorney Rene Broker, Miller admitted to the allegations against him:

Over the lunch hour this past Wednesday, I got on three computers (not belonging to me) in the office. All of them were on and none of them were locked. I accessed my personal website, for political purposes (participated in a poll), and then cleared the cache on each computer. I did the same thing on my computer. Jill asked the office what happened. 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.

"The 60 pages of e-mails, memos and other documents released to Alaska Dispatch as a result of a lawsuit against the Fairbanks North Star Borough paint a picture of a stressed-out Miller who was caught doing wrong.

"Borough officials initially considered whether what Miller had done was a crime — a felony as well as a misdemeanor — but settled on disciplining him for violating ethics rules. Miller offered to resign. He was placed on administrative leave March 13 and then suspended for three days without pay at the end of the month. He was ordered to complete mandatory employee counseling and was placed on six months probation. Miller was told that any further infractions would result in his immediate termination.

"Miller, who is locked in a tight three-way race for Senate with incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Democratic challenger Scott McAdams, has been stalling release of the records since July and last week fought their disclosure in a public records case filed by news media."

So Miller was in cover up mode until the court put an end to it.

Burke and Epler:

"State Superior Court Judge Winston Burbank reviewed the documents in Miller's personnel file and on Saturday ordered the borough to release most of them. Some have been withheld or redacted because they contain medical information or other material that the judge considered to be privileged. Burbank was tasked with evaluating whether the public's right to know outweighed Miller's right to privacy. In ordering the release of the records, Burbank found that Miller's Senate candidacy made him a public figure."

That finding strikes me as indisputable.

Burke and Epler:

"Miller has long been a political crony of former Gov. Sarah Palin, and in March 2008 was assisting in her effort to get Ruedrich booted as GOP party chairman, a political takeover that ultimately failed."

Did Palin know about Miller's administrative leave in 2008 or just learn about it?

Will Palin give Miller a pass because he was trying to help her?

Palin has a BIG Joe Miller problem now. How she handles it should tell us whether she's presidential.

© Michael Gaynor

 

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)

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