Joe Miller’s Employment Record: Lying, and then Lying about Lying

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zieak/4997548740/">Flickr</a>/<a href="http://www.zieak.com/"> Ryan McFarland</a>

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Joe Miller may be in trouble up in Alaska. On Sunday, after spending weeks trying to keep his personal history out of the campaign spotlight, the tea-party backed Republican candidate for senator finally admitted that he’d been suspended from his part-time job as an attorney with the Fairbanks North Star Borough for three days in 2008 for violating the borough’s ethics policy. But the story didn’t end there. Earlier this month, several Alaska media outlets sued for access to Miller’s employment records. They won on Tuesday, after a judge ordered the release of Miller’s employment files. What those documents reveal about Miller isn’t pretty.

According to those records, Miller used multiple government computers to vote against state Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich (a position he wanted for himself) in an online poll. He then cleared out the caches on the computers to cover his tracks and lied about the whole episode, multiple times. It was the lying that earned Miller a three-day suspension and a six month probationary period.

Included in the documents released Tuesday is a letter Miller wrote to his supervisor in which he describes what happened:

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.

“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 continued.

So now we know that Miller lied. But do Alaskans care? Or, at least, do they care enough swing the race, which currently shows Miller and Murkowski tied, with Democrat Scott McAdams gaining on them? The Alaska Dispatch ponders this question, but the answer is far from clear at this point.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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