U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller, who opposes federal spending on agriculture, is acknowledging receiving farm subsidies during the 1990s from land that he owned in Kansas. Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto said Miller, who is from Kansas, purchased the farmland in 1990 when he was in the Army and essentially rented it out to be farmed, finally selling the last of the 140 acres that were being farmed in 1998.
Anchorage talk radio host Mike Porcaro asked Miller on Friday if he was receiving any farm subsidies. Miller said he wasn't receiving any farm subsidies for land that he owns in Delta Junction.
"Grew up in Kansas, like the vast majority of Kansas farms, I don't know what the percentage is, over 90 percent, there was some form of farm payment provided by the federal government to those active farms. Absolutely, unequivocally I will tell your listening public that was the case," Miller said on the 650 KENI radio show Friday afternoon.
The Alaska Dispatch, based on a Freedom of Information Act request with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reported Monday that Miller received more than $7,000 in federal farm subsidies for the Kansas land over a seven-year period. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee responded with a news release headlined "Extremist Joe Miller also a hypocrite."
Miller, a "constitutional conservative" who believes federal spending must be reined in, won last month's Republican primary over U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, whom he'd cast as part of the problem in an out-of-control Washington.
Miller now faces Democrat Scott McAdams and Murkowski, who is running as a write in candidate.
Miller said in a Tuesday interview that he was in his early 20s when he purchased the farm and the payments came over a decade ago.
"To suggest that because there was some sort of federal payment received by somebody at some point in their historical past that they aren't then allowed to dialogue on the issues that are facing this country fiscally, I think is silly," he said.
This follows a report by the blog Mudflats last week suggesting that Miller had received $14,000 in subsidies for farmland he owns in the Delta Junction area. Miller spokesman DeSoto last week denied that in an e-mail, saying "this is a manufactured story from a Democratic blog. Joe has owned land near Delta Junction since 1999, but the land is not under production and he's received no federal farm subsidies for it."
ADN staff and wire services