Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller admitted Monday that his wife had received unemployment benefits in 2002 after she left a job serving as his aide.
At the time, Miller had been serving as a part-time magistrate judge in the Fairbanks District Court, a position that he held from June 21, 2002 through June 1, 2004, according to the Alaska Dispatch. His wife, Kathleen Miller, was hired to be his part-time clerk for six months, between June 2002 and December. When she left the position at the end of that year, she briefly went on unemployment insurance, Miller said Monday.
Miller made the following statement to Alaska blogger and Lisa Murkowski supporter Andrew Halcro:
My wife, Kathleen, did work for me as a magistrate judge clerk/secretary while I was a part-time Federal Magistrate judge from 2002 to 2004. Before 2004 there was a long-standing practice, both in Fairbanks as well as other areas in the United States, that due to the time commitments of being a lawyer and a part-time Federal Magistrate judge the same individuals that worked in your private law offices also worked in your federal magistrate office - many of those being family members. Before even applying for the Fairbanks Magistrate judgeship I spoke with members of the federal court concerning the employment of Kathleen. It was confirmed that she could work for me in my office. After leaving my office Kathleen did receive unemployment benefits for a short period of time.
According to Halcro, Kathleen Miller was terminated because of a violation of nepotism rules, a claim that adds an extra wrinkle in the Alaska Senate race due to the criticism of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who was granted the seat in 2004 by her father, Frank Murkowski, who had vacated it to serve as the state's governor.
"According to sources, a few years back, a judicial magistrate hired his wife in violation of nepotism rules. He had to fire his wife, who then went on to claim unemployment benefits," Halcro wrote in a blog post.
Miller has denied that allegation.
The admission that Miller's wife received unemployment benefits is particularly significant considering the Tea Party-backed Senate candidate's public stance on the federal provisions, which he has called unconstitutional.
And this isn't the first time Miller has taken flak for supposed hypocrisy. Last month, the Miller campaign was forced to concede that the GOP candidate had received $7,235 in subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture between 1991 and 1997, despite his platform of slashing federal government handouts.
On Monday, Joe Miller raised eyebrows when he added another staple to his small government message by announcing his belief that federal minimum wage laws were unconstitutional, and should instead be left up to the states' determination.