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Miller admits 'flaws' but refuses to discuss the past

Jill Burke,Patti Epler

Joe Miller speaks to Greta Van Susteren of Fox News after Monday's Chamber of Commerce candidate forum.
Jill Burke photo
Joe Miller speaks to Greta Van Susteren of Fox News after Monday's Chamber of Commerce candidate forum.
U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller spoke to reporters after today's Anchorage Chamber of Commerce candidates' forum but declined to speak to what he called "lies and innuendo" about whether he was accused of politicking on the job while employed as an attorney for the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Miller called a 1:30 p.m. press conference to speak to the issue, but arrived a few minutes late in order to first be interviewed by Fox News' Greta Van Susteren.

Miller said it is clear to him that his confidential personnel file has been leaked and called it a clear violation of law and the product of a vicious campaign and "journalistic impropriety." He singled out Alaska Dispatch and accused Alaska Dispatch's journalism objective of being "anything related to Joe Miller."

But on Sunday we told attorney Thomas Van Flein, who was brought in to assist the Miller campaign over the records issue, that Alaska Dispatch does not have in its possession any records beyond those already disclosed by the Miller campaign and the borough in July.

Miller declined to answer any questions from reporters, leaving the podium abruptly after making a statement and touting his campaign vision. "I'm a man of flaws," Miller said. "We are like you. We are Alaskans. We have issues. We have drawn a line in the sand. You can ask me about background, you can ask me about personal issues, I'm not going to answer. I'm not."

Miller called the alleged leak of his personnel file "an outrageous breach of family privacy." He also accused Alaska Dispatch of being a contributor to Lisa Murkowski, and called upon Murkowski and all Alaskans to disavow biased journalism tactics. In fact, majority owner Alice Rogoff did donate $2,400 to Murkowski's campaign in March 2009, four months before she became an owner of Alaska Dispatch. She has in the past also donated money to other Alaska candidates, including Sen. Mark Begich. Rogoff has not contributed to any Alaska candidates since purchasing Alaska Dispatch. Alaska Dispatch as a company has never made a financial or in-kind contribution to any political campaign.

Miller did not dispute the accuracy of Alaska Dispatch reports about his borough employment history and the accusations that he conducted partisan activity using borough equipment. Alaska Dispatch filed suit Monday against the Fairbanks North Star Borough seeking the release of Miller's records.

"That I made mistakes in the past, does that disqualify me from being a senator?" Miller asked.

A backdrop for the press statement had been set up adjacent to a stairwell, through which Miller promptly exited after concluding his remarks, much to the dissatisfaction of reporters from multiple news outlets who had assembled to hear what he had to say and ask questions.

His campaign spokesman, Randy DeSoto, also declined to answer questions from reporters, telling them he didn't know the answers.

UPDATE: Dennis Zaki of Alaska FX Productions caught up with Murkowski as she left the Dena'ina Center and asked for her reaction to Miller's statement to the media:

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Contact Jill Burke at jill(at)alaskadispatch.com.