Miller e-mail deadline passes; borough weighs next move

OPTIONS: Candidate hasn't explained missing messages.

December 7, 2010 

JUNEAU -- An attorney for the Fairbanks North Star Borough alleges that Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller violated borough e-mail policy and his ethical responsibilities while working as a government lawyer.

Miller's inbox was emptied when he resigned in 2009, and the borough advised his attorneys in October that it was investigating what happened to the e-mails.

On Tuesday, assistant borough attorney Jill Dolan said in a letter to Miller's attorney that Miller appeared to have sent e-mails from his borough account to a private address before "conducting a major deletion off of the Borough system."

The letter came a day after Miller's camp failed to respond to the borough's satisfaction to outstanding questions the borough had surrounding Miller's e-mails.

"Mr. Miller needs to stop trying to find a loophole for his behavior and immediately provide this office with any and all documents in his possession, or explain why he cannot do so," Dolan wrote.

Miller attorney Thomas Van Flein has maintained Miller complied with the borough e-mail policy.

Miller, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, worked as a part-time attorney for the borough for seven years.

The borough set a Dec. 6 deadline for Miller to provide "any e-mails or any other documents he has in his possession relating to FNSB business." Van Flein responded with a letter seeking clarification on the borough's e-mail retention policy and requesting a list or copies of all Miller e-mails that the borough has so Miller "can search any of his archives to see if there are additional ones not on this list."

Borough Attorney Rene Broker said that didn't answer the borough's questions and that it would consider its options. Dolan previously said those included taking information the borough has to an investigating agency or the state bar association.

"We're going to talk about it, try to figure out what to do," Broker said in an interview. She set no timeline for a decision.

Broker has said the borough recovered about 15,000 e-mails but was not sure if there were more. Broker has said she's had e-mails deleted inadvertently but that the borough hadn't received an explanation as to what happened with Miller's e-mails.

Van Flein said in an e-mail Tuesday to The Associated Press that he was out of state and that his office hadn't received a letter from Dolan Tuesday.

He has said Miller printed copies of correspondence related to issues he was working on and questioned the borough's motives in raising the issue when it did: more than a year after Miller had left the job and while he was in the throes of a heated Senate campaign.

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