Attorney Misconduct, Legal Ethics, Politics

Joe Miller: Now an Admitted Liar

When we included Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller in our gallery of most disgraceful Yale Law School graduates, we admitted that his scandals were trivial in comparison to some other people on the list.

But now maybe Miller will be a worthy contender. Newly released documents contain an email where Miller admits to lying about some of his actions while working as a borough attorney in Fairbanks, Alaska.

I have no idea how the Tea Party will spin this into a positive, but for Democrats and regular Republicans, their problem with Miller won’t be the offense, it’ll be with the cover-up. ‘Twas always thus…

The underlying offense Miller committed was minor. While working as a government lawyer, Miller was caught using Fairbanks North Star Borough computers for politics. That’s wrong, and people shouldn’t do it, but it happens.

But when you get caught, you should confess. Miller didn’t do that. In fact, he only admitted his wrongdoing when he was brought up on ethics charges. And then the admission was complete. The Anchorage Daily News reports:

“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,” Miller wrote in a March 17, 2008, e-mail to Fairbanks North Star Borough Attorney Rene Broker…

“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 wrote in the 2008 e-mail admitting what he had done.

Lying is bad. Lying about what you are doing at work is terrible. But the cover-up didn’t really end with the March 2008 letter. Because Miller tried to keep that letter from ever going public:

Miller’s admission and a disciplinary letter were among his employee records released by the Fairbanks North Star Borough on Tuesday as a result of a lawsuit by media organizations. Miller initially fought release of the documents, but state Superior Court Judge Winston Burbank ordered most of the records sought to be released, and Miller decided not to appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court.

Man, who is advising this guy? What about: “The voters of Alaska deserve to know what I did, and decide for themselves whether or not that disqualifies me from representing them in the United States Senate.” You’re telling me he couldn’t have made a credible argument that he made a mistake to use the computers, and a bigger mistake to lie about it, but that this was all now in the past and that he’s not afraid to be judged by the voters?

Instead, Miller and his advisers have used the following strategy:

During the campaign, Miller first refused to answer questions from reporters about it, then acknowledged he had been disciplined. He’s refused to discuss the details, however and won’t agree to an interview with the Daily News.

Whatever, this is Alaska — who knows what thoughts go through the heads of people who vote by placing moose antlers in marked oil drums. Can you be an ethical senator even if you weren’t the most ethical lawyer?

We’ll see what the voters think on Tuesday.

Miller admitted lies, deleted official e-mails [Anchorage Daily News]

Earlier: Who Is Yale Law School’s Most Disgraceful Graduate?

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