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The Upcoming Alaska Primary

10:48 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Alaska U.S. Senate GOP Primary candidates prepare to debate in Anchorage in mid-August

On Tuesday, Alaskan super voters will go to the polls to decide a few important contests. The two most important for the future of the state are the GOP three-way contest to oppose Sen. (D) Mark Begich’s US Senate seat in November, and a voters’ referendum on Alaska’s tax structure for the oil industry.

Unprecedented amounts of money are pouring into our state, which, after decades of GOP and Democratic Party neo-Liberal governance, may be about to enter a huge economic and financial tailspin.  Briefly, however, this summer and fall, Alaska TV and radio stations are seeing windfall profits in the millions of dollars in ads against incumbent Begich, against GOP candidate Dan Sullivan, and against repeal of Alaska Senate Bill 21.  This Outside level of spending, by Karl Rove’s PAC, by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, by British Petroleum, Conoco-Phillips and Exxon-Mobil, is enormous, with over $10 million being spent to influence less than 125,000 voters.

The three-way GOP U.S. Senate primary has seen former Alaska Attorney General and Commissioner of Natural Resources, Dan Sullivan (not to be confused with current Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, who is running in the GOP primary for the Lieutenant Governor slot) raising far more money than his two opponents combined.  They are former Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell and Tea Party favorite, Joe Miller.  Miller, who beat incumbent U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary in 2010, only to lose to her in the general election, is trailing both Sullivan and Treadwell in the polls, but his followers are ardent, and are notoriously difficult to poll accurately.  Sen. Begich has no serious challengers in the Democratic primary.

The voters’ referendum on oil taxes pits the big oil companies against reformers who feel the tax system put in place by the 2013 Alaska Legislature gives far too much away to the giant corporations.  The referendum is on the primary ballot instead of the general election slate because the oil companies managed to co-opt legislators into extending their 2014 session in such a way as to force other ballot initiatives onto the November ticket.  As these initiatives (legalizing cannabis, raising the minimum wage, and protecting salmon stocks from mega mines such as Pebble) are popular with progressives, the oil companies wanted the vote on their taxes to be held in the primary, where voter turnout is more conservative, more hardened.

Here are two videos that focus on the GOP Senate primary, and on the oil tax referendum.

The first is one of the few debates when candidate Sullivan deigned to appear on stage with the other two.  The debate was held on August 12th in Anchorage:

I am predicting that Joe Miller’s supporters will do far better than the polling indicates.

The second video item is a comparison between Alaska’s oil tax structure to those in several other areas.  It purports to show that rather than over-taxed here, as the industry’s supporters stridently claim, the companies enjoy enormous profits here, compared to the rest of the U.S. or globally:

In spite of the oil companies outspending the pro-referendum supporters about 40 to one, the most recent polls show the vote to be too close to call.

“Singing in Tongues” Youtube in Steambath by GOP AK Senate Primary Candidate May Complicate Race

3:21 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Alaska blogger, journalist and writer Amanda Coyne has posted a Youtube of one of the four GOP Alaska U.S. Senate Primary candidates.  In it, the longshot entry in the four-way race may have inadvertently helped her low budget campaign more than anything she intentionally produced might have done.  In places, candidate Kathleen Tonn sings in tongues.  She sings in a steam bath, joined at the end of the video by her friend, Suzie:

Coyne writes:

Tonn is a pro-life candidate. Her candidacy has received little attention so far compared to the three other frontrunners running in the Republican primary—[Tea Party favorite] Joe Miller, [not Anchorage Mayor, but the other one - ex- Alaska AG] Dan Sullivan, and [current Lieutenant Governor] Mead Treadwell. That might change after the video gets around.

The gift of tongues is a considered by those who have the gift—including this writer’s mother– to be highly sacred and it is considered forbidden to be used as publicity. It’s unclear whether the video had any effect on Suzie, who appears briefly at the end, clad in a towel. “That was beautiful,” Suzie says.

I’ll be writing more soon about the 2014 Alaska U.S. Senate primary and other issues warming up here in an important election year.

FBI Informant Who Took Down Right-Wing Alaska Militia Claims Palin Was Already in Line for VP Slot in March, 2008

5:22 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

FBI informant William Fulton

Last week, William Fulton, the FBI informant whose testimony in the Schaeffer Cox conspiracy to murder trial was a key to the latter’s conviction, came out of his silence.  Since March 15th, 2011, Fulton has been protected by the Federal government, and had disappeared from his Spenard Avenue military surplus and equipment store, the Drop Zone, the day before:

Five days after members of an Interior Alaska militia group were arrested in connection with plots to kill Alaska State Troopers, judges and others, Anchorage businessman William Fulton — a man once identified as the “supply sergeant” for the Alaska Citizens Militia — went missing. He has not been seen since.

Fulton was the owner of Drop Zone, a military surplus store on Spenard Road. He gained some notoriety during the 2010 U.S. Senate race when, acting as security for failed candidate Joe Miller, he handcuffed and detained Alaska Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger at a public meeting.

On March 15, a Drop Zone employee arrived at work to find Anchorage attorney Wayne Anthony Ross waiting for him in the parking lot. Ross had documents, signed by Fulton, handing over the shop with all its debts and assets to the employee.

Fulton resurfaced to testify in Cox’s Anchorage trial, then disappeared again until Schaeffer Cox’s and some of his co-conspirators’ sentencing last week.  Now Fulton has been interviewed by news outlets, beginning with Salon and  Huffington Post, on January 11th.

In the HuffPo interview, Fulton revealed that 2010 Alaska U.S. Senate GOP nominee Joe Miller began wearing a bulletproof vest after the nomination.  Fulton was in charge of candidate Miller’s security during many of the Tea Party- and Koch Brothers-backed candidate’s public appearances throughout the late summer and fall of 2010:

Alaska Tea Party favorite Joe Miller wore a bulletproof vest the night he beat Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to become the Republican Party’s 2010 Senate nominee, his former private security guard told The Huffington Post.

“As we’re finding out that he’s winning, I’m in the bathroom putting a bulletproof vest on the guy,” William Fulton said in one of several interviews this week. Describing Miller as “paranoid,” Fulton said the underdog conservative was afraid he’d be targeted at election headquarters in Anchorage on that August night. “It was fucking ridiculous.”

Monday morning, the Palin-centric (still!!!) Alaska blog, The Immoral Minority featured an extended interview between Jesse Griffin, the blog’s owner, and Fulton. Griffin ran a teaser on the interview late last week, promising that on Monday he would run the Fulton interview, and that readers would then have a chance to ask Bill questions.  Griffin, as recently as this weekend, commenting on the ongoing power struggle within Alaska’s GOP, between the realists and the Teas Party Jihadists, noted:

I am reasonably certain that Russ Millette is only a puppet, and that his strings are being pulled by Joe Miller, and more than likely, Sarah Palin.

No WONDER the Alaska GOP is trying so hard to keep their hands off of the Republican money!

Not very people believe Palin has much of a hand in GOP struggles anymore.  From my perch in Wasilla, I find the idea of Palin continuing to have a significant following absurd.  But Griffin’s followers view Palin as some sort of a Zombie force with talons creeping into every nook and cranny of Alaska politics.

Griffin’s interview with Fulton is interesting, though.  The questions Gryph’s cult followers ask vary between quite good and inane and bizarre. Griffin wrote, at the bottom of the interview:

Now as I mentioned before Bill will answer some of YOUR questions next.

What we have worked out is that you can submit them in the comment section, he will choose the ones he feels he can answer, and then I will type them out in a later post, either tomorrow or the next day depending on time constraints.

Please remember that there are still certain questions that Bill will not be able, or willing, to answer.

An occurrence that keeps on coming up is a meeting that was held in the Captain Cook Hotel, on the morning of March 14, 2008, at the Alaska State GOP Convention.

Interestingly, that’s the same morning I met Schaeffer Cox.

Here’s Fulton’s rendition of aspects of that in Monday’s interview with Griffin (emphasis added):

Q: Well that’s an understatement, however could you please elaborate on why this meeting, which was ostensibly about forcing Randy Reuderich out of the Alaska GOP Chairman’s seat and taking over, suddenly changed direction?

Fulton: Well yes the original intent was to shitcan Reuderich and replace him with somebody else. But then they decided not to do that it so that it wouldn’t distract from the last minute decision to run Sean Parnell against Don Young. 

Q: What changed?

Fulton: I’m not entirely sure, but it had something to do with the fact that Sarah Palin was going to be tapped as the VP candidate.

Q: Really? This was happening in March of 2008, according to Palin, AND the McCain campaign, they did not choose her until the very last minute, late in August of 2008, which is why they did not have time to vet her carefully.

Fulton: Bullshit. Frank Bailey and Joe Miller discussed the nomination as if it was a done deal, and claimed that she was already being vetted.

Q: In March of 2008?

Fulton: Yes, in March of 2008.

So Fulton is at odds with a lot of narratives, including that of the book and movie, Game Change.

Before it became public knowledge that William Fulton had been working undercover to bring down Schaeffer Cox and his colleagues, the former was best known for his arrest and handcuffing of Alaska Dispatch reporter and chief editor, Tony Hopfinger, at a Joe Miller rally in Anchorage, on October 17th, 2010.  Fulton’s act was more instrumental in the write-in victory of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, in a strange three-way race, than any other single event.  Miller’s reaction to the Hopfinger incident struck some as paranoid (emphasis added):

Q: And on that note how do you think Joe Miller feels now knowing that you were working with the FBI while you were also working on his security detail?

Fulton: I KNOW how he feels. He has been writing about it on his blog. He thinks I was a plant that was dedicated to sabotaging his campaign from within. 

Q: Were you?

Fulton: No. I just did what Miller hired me to do. He also has complained that my version of fitting him for body armor in the bathroom due to his paranoia is an exaggeration and that I had “followed him around the convention center warning him of threats.” 

Q: And did you?

Fulton: Hell no! Nobody needed to help Joe Miller feel paranoid.

After the 2010 election Alaska political activist and muckraker Ray Metcalfe and I bought the handcuffs Fulton had used on Hopfinger:

Craig says “Fulton has now told the Huffington Post that he thought putting the cuffs on Tony Hopfinger, the co-owner and editor of Dispatch, while working for Miller, a conservative Republican, appeared a great idea. Fulton said it bolstered his image with the militias.”

When Ray Metcalfe and I bought the same handcuffs Bill had used to cuff Tony at Begich Middle School, Bill told us “If I had it to do all over again, I’d do it all over again.”

He sold them to us a bit below cost for new ones, but they were used – S&W Model M-100. Charged us $40.00.

We later gave them to Tony as a gift.

You can see an image of them here.

Miller+time

(photo I made of the handcuffs, before giving them to Tony)

Fulton reiterated what he told Ray and me in 2010 in today’s interview with Griffin:

I still feel that the bust was legitimate, and my people and I had done the same thing at various events and concerts all over town. However because of who Joe Miller was, and the way the media was portraying him, the arrest served as the perfect catalyst to give the media permission to define him as somebody who would hire jack booted thugs to rough up reporters who tried to question him. 

In fact I performed my duties to the best of my abilities, and would do so again in similar circumstances.

Schaeffer Cox is now on his way to a 25-year stint in a Federal Penitentiary.  Bill Fulton says he wants to keep on working for the government:

I am looking to teach a law enforcement course dealing with extremists and infiltrating their ranks. I am also planning to write a book about my experiences in Alaska, and with the militia up there.

As for Joe Miller, whose star shone so brightly, if briefly, in the Alaska political firmament, here’s from a statement that came out at his web site shortly after the Fulton interviews began to be published last week:

I have no idea what makes people like Bill Fulton and Schaeffer Cox tick. But I do know this: Joe Miller has an extreme love for this country and its people and will continue to fight selflessly to restore Liberty.

Too many have become weary in their efforts against increasing regulations and decreasing rights. William Wilberforce did not give up after all his years of failure in Parliament and because of it slavery was abolished in England.

Joe Miller and I believe in a limited government that stays out of the way of its citizens freedoms. I hope you will join the cause of Liberty and support the people who champion her cause.

Hang in there, Joe.  You’re extremely fun to watch.

At+the+AK+State+Fair+2010+#4+-+Miller+going+overboard

(Joe Miller and close friend berating me at the 2010 Alaska State Fair)

As Write-Ins Get Counted in Alaska, Miller Brings on More Sleaze

1:03 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The counting of votes in the 2010 Alaska U.S. Senate race is moving along fairly briskly.  On Wednesday and Thursday, absentee votes for Joe Miller cut into Lisa Murkowski’s large lead.  On Thursday the Miller campaign was challenging Murkowski write-in ballots so aggressively, they were flagging ballots on which one of the letters in Murkowski’s name was in cursive.  And they challenged another where the person had written in “Merkowski,” and then had written a “u” over the “e.”

Even with such challenges as those Murkowski’s lead over Miller early Saturday is about 10,050, with most of the regular write-in votes now counted:

The count stands at 98,565 write-ins and 87,517 votes for Miller after Friday’s tally of absentee and questioned votes. That tally slightly widened the margin of write-ins over Miller to 11,048 votes.

Nearly 98 percent of those write-ins are being counted for Murkowski so far. More than 90 percent of Murkowski’s write-in votes are not being challenged.

The Miller campaign has successfully challenged just 1.5 percent of the 69,249 write-in ballots that have been reviewed. The ballots unsuccessfully challenged by Miller are being segregated in boxes, and the courts could have the final say.

Miller has filed a lawsuit asking federal courts to force the state to throw out ballots that misspell Murkowski’s name. He argues state law doesn’t allow misspellings. But even if Miller’s lawsuit succeeds, Murkowski could still have enough votes to win.

The Division of Elections has finished going through the write-ins for nearly 72 percent of the precincts in Alaska. That doesn’t count the absentee and early vote write-in ballots, which will be reviewed this weekend and into next week.

Late Thursday, Miller’s new campaign strategist, Floyd Brown, entered the scene.  Brown is the creator of the Willie Horton ads, run against presidential candidate Michael Dukakis.  He was heavily involved in creating false stories about Bill Clinton’s past in Arkansas, and was a co-founder of Citizens United.

Soon after Brown took over aspects of Miller’s campaign, their camp began playing a race card, suing to obtain voter roles from several small towns and villages, composed mostly of Alaska Natives.  The majority of Alaska Native organizations, including the very influential Alaska Federation of Natives, backed Murkowski over Miller and Scott McAdams in the election.  Several Native corporations assisted Murkowski materially, especially in October.  Although a few Native precincts around the state went for McAdams, none came even close to going for Miller.

At a news conference in Juneau Friday afternoon, Brown asserted that write-in ballots in Cordova had “the name “Lisa Murkowski” all written in the same handwriting. Miller adviser Floyd Brown said the campaign would be asking for a handwriting analysis of those ballots.”

Brown also complained that the security firm hired by the state to assure ballot security in Juneau has allowed illegal access to the ballot storage boxes and stacks.  The security firm is owned by a local Juneau Native corporation:

Goldbelt Security is handling the ballots. It is a subsidiary of Goldbelt, the local Native corporation for Juneau. Brown hit on the fact Murkowski has a bill to benefit Sealaska, the regional Native corporation for Southeast Alaska, and that Sealaska officials backed her campaign.

In today’s story about this in the Anchorage Daily News, anti-Native commenters are crawling out of their holes, just as Brown is hoping.  Here’s a sample:

I cant help but notice a high number of Native looking people in the photographs. Are they members of the Native Union who threw its support of Lisa. I hope someone is watching.

The Alaska Division of Elections is hoping to process all the write-in, absentee and early ballots that have arrived so far by the end of this coming week.  Although absentee ballots must be postmarked by election day, the state will not stop accepting them from overseas until November 17th.

It should be noted that in the 2008 Alaska U.S. Senate race, Mark Begich’s votes did not pass those of Sen. Ted Stevens in the late counting until early November 18th.  That race was much closer, with higher voter participation than in this mid-term election, and with a completely different dynamic than this strange 2010 Senate race.  I expect Murkowski’s lead to hold.

I’m working with a group that is seeking to have Joe Miller disbarred for illegally hacking, altering and deleting files from his fellow attorneys’ computers in Fairbanks back in the winter of 2008.  The information came out in October, due to the media lawsuit compelling release of some of Miller’s personnel records while working in Fairbanks as a municipal attorney.  I’m also trying to get the handcuffs that were used to cuff Alaska Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger at a Joe Miller event on October 17th.  I’m going to get them bronzed for Tony.  The Alaska Dispatch lawsuit and the illegal arrest of Tony probably did more to change public perception of Miller than anything else.

Andrew Breitbart Partners Up with Joe Miller and Sarah Palin to Hide Old Lies with New Ones

10:59 pm in 2010 election, Elections by EdwardTeller

From Thursday’s successful effort by Dan Fagan, Steve Aufrecht and others to get a lot of people to consider, or to actually sign up as write-in candidates in the November 2nd Alaska U.S. Senate election, through Halloween night, one strange aspect of Joe Miller and his campaign, or another, has dominated the major national web-based news aggregators:

Thursday:

1. Right wing talk jock Dan Fagan urges on his KFQD-AM Anchorage radio program, that people go down to the Alaska Division of Elections offices to file as write-in candidates for U.S. Senate, before Thursday’s end-of-day filing deadline. As complaints gather at KFQD‘s parent company, Dan is told to take Friday off. The Miller campaign then tries to pump this into an example of the heavy-handed Lisa Murkowski once again suppressing dissent. 160 people sign up, ,making it so that the Division of Elections will not have an easy task explaining to voters how to write in Murkoski’s name Monday and Tuesday, without also exlaining how to write in each name on the list for that office.

2. Anchorage TV station KTVA‘s planning for coverage of Thursday evening’s Joe Miller rally at the Denai’ina Center, and for an interview with Miller gets recorded accidentally by a message machine at the Miller campaign. The rally itself, hijacked by Sarah Palin and turned into a self-promotion tool, is another Tea Party rehearsal for Christo-Fascism.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Alaska Senate Race Could Go Anywhere

12:27 am in 2010 election, Elections by EdwardTeller

photo: ukslim via Flickr

The Scott McAdams campaign decided Wednesday evening to initially feed the results of the Hays Research poll, the first to show Joe Miller in dead last place, to the blogosphere.  Influential Alaska media outlets have openly declared for Lisa Murkowski, and the campaign felt it would be better to give initial spin to new media than to outlets who might spin the poll results adversely to McAdams’ campaign, which gained new wind in its sails Thursday as a result of the fresh breeze.

Very early Thursday, the results were announced first by the Alaska blog, The Mudflats, then a few hours later, in a front-page post at Daily Kos by Kos.

The poll, as related here earlier, shows Miller now in third place, with Sen. Murkowski in the lead, and Scott McAdams within margin of error:  Murkowski – 34%, McAdams – 29%. Miller – 23%.

The Hays poll was commissioned by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, who are supporting McAdams.  A few hours later, a poll funded by the Murkowski supporting PAC, Alaskans Standing Together, came out with markedly different results:  Murkowski – 43.5%,  Miller – 29.1%, McAdams – 22.5%.

Both of these polls were taken just before the most damning information yet to emerge on Miller had been digested.

A lawsuit filed in mid-October by The Alaska Dispatch (Murkowski), The Anchorage Daily News (Murkowski) and The Fairbanks News-Miner (uncommitted), seeking disclosure of the parts of Miller’s personnel file at the Fairbanks North Star Borough as an attorney, ended with publication of voluminous information on Miller’s duplicity while working there.  The facts that came out also contradict many recent Miller statements about what such a disclosure might reveal about his job performance.

The plain, bare truth of what Miller did, attempting to influence an election for the chair of the Alaska Republican Party, in early 2008, is this:

He checked before he came in that day, to make sure everyone in the office would be gone.  Then he hacked four borough computers, used by his colleagues in their work as attorneys.  After he was done trying to influence the scenario in which he hoped to take control of the Alaska Republican Party by creating fictitious input sources, her realized that he had to cover his tracks.  So he tried to delete the record of his hacking.  doing this screwed up caches involving ongoing legal work by his colleagues on cases he wasn’t part of.  When he was caught, this is what happened . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Alaska Democrat Scott McAdams Brings in $1 Million as Miller and Murkowski Campaigns Founder

4:55 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Senate candidate Scott McAdams of Alaska

Democratic Party nominee Scott McAdams announced today that his campaign has raised over a million dollars so far, in his quest to pull off a surprising victory against two opposing candidates who are entering stages of terminal infighting.

Joe Miller, who has had a succession of "worst week yet" weeks, is in the middle of the worst one yet. Not only did his Sunday evening arrest on of an award-winning news editor at a public event by unlicensed goons working for a company that itself is unlicensed go viral nationally, it has since gotten worse.

Yesterday, the blog Palingates detailed the extensive links between the illegal company’s owner and a sordid array of militia characters only two steps removed from Timothy McVeigh. Multiple contacts between the company’s owner and Miller himself are now starting to trickle out. As Palingates put it in their post on Monday:

Joe Miller chose a security firm for his campaign event which is not only unlicensed, but also right at the heart of an extreme militia group, with the owner of the security firm being a local commander of the militia and also the main supplier. This Alaskan militia is headed by the notorious Norm Olson, who played a major role in the radical militia movement in the 1990′s in Michigan, a movement which is at least partly to blame for the Oklahoma bombing.

It isn’t going to get better for Miller. The usually supine Alaska media is genuinely riled at Miller’s increasingly obvious odious nature, dishonesty and manipulative financial past – and present.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Joe Miller Invokes East Germany as Security Model, Then Has Blog Editor Arrested by Thugs

11:10 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

At a town hall meeting Sunday afternoon(1) in Anchorage, U.S. Senate campaign GOP nominee Joe Miller was asked a long question on how we should keep illegal immigrants out.

His short answer: "If East Germany can do it, we can do it!"

After the meeting, Miller was approached by Tony Hopfinger, an award-winning journalist and editor of the on-line news source, The Alaska Dispatch. Here’s what happened next:

Hopfinger, who had learned at the last minute of Miller’s planned appearance at the public school, ducked into a hallway after the meeting to pose his own questions to Miller.

Hopfinger had been trying to ask Miller questions when two or three guards told him to leave or risk being charged with trespassing.

When Hopfinger continued to try to ask questions, one of the guards put the reporter in an arm-bar and then handcuffed him.

Hopfinger was released after police arrived.

The reporter was on public property where a public event was being held at the time of the incident.

Here’s KTUU TV’s early print coverage:

According to Hopfinger, Miller’s security team pushed him and he pushed back because he felt his personal space was being invaded. He says guards detained him and accused him of trespassing, although the town hall was a public event held at a public building.

Miller security guard William Fulton said in a statement Sunday that he was responding to Hopfinger’s actions.

“The Dispatch reporter repeatedly pushed a camera into the face of Mr. Miller,” Fulton said. “He continued to aggressively pursue him. I told the reporter several times that he needed to stop and that he was trespassing, he ignored me. He then proceeded to stalk Mr. Miller and even shoved an individual into a locker. Based upon this trespass and his assault, we detained him and escorted him from the premises.”

Hopfinger says he waited for about half an hour in handcuffs for police to show up. No arrests have been made and no charges have been filed.

Last Monday, under increasing pressure from the Alaska press to release more details of why his employment as an attorney for the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB) ended in controversy, Miller scheduled, canceled, then rescheduled a press conference(2). At that event, Miller closed, stating:

We’ve drawn a line in the sand. You can ask me about background, you can ask about personal issues — I’m not going to answer. I’m not.

During this past week, press hostility toward Miller understandably grew. As a result of Miller’s refusal to sign a release allowing the FNSB to release his employment records, the former mayor of Fairbanks, Republican Jim Whitaker made a public statement(3) on Miller’s job performance there:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller was nearly fired from his job as a borough attorney in 2008 after using borough computers in an attempt to oust the chairman of the Republican Party of Alaska, former borough Mayor Jim Whitaker said Wednesday.

Whitaker said Miller’s actions violated the Fairbanks North Star Borough’s ethics policy but did not result in a termination because the borough needed Miller to continue working on its lawsuit about how much to tax the trans-Alaska pipeline system.

Miller eventually resigned from borough employment on Sept. 1, 2009. “I’m speaking now because this occurred on my watch as mayor, because I know the truth, and because I have an obligation to tell the truth,” Whitaker said in an interview with the Daily News-Miner.

He said that, as a former mayor, he would prefer not to be involved in “the political melee.” “I also felt it was appropriate to give Mr. Miller enough time to come forward himself,” Whitaker said. “It’s clear with his statements of the other day, he’s not going to do that.

That was Wednesday. Alaska legal blogger, Wickersham’s Conscience made a case that Whitaker’s information indicates Miller engaged in criminal activity in his abuse of co-workers’ computers:

So Miller was allegedly was using other folks’ computers, without their permission or knowledge, so he could pretend to be sending votes by someone else in the contest for Republican Party State Chair. He is alleged to have been stuffing the electronic ballot box, using Borough computers. Alaska’s criminal laws have something to say about this.

WC goes on to list the felony statutes Miller appeared to have violated. The Miller campaign was quick to deny that Miller had done anything wrong. On Late Thursday, Miller’s dad, Rex, sent out an email that leaked out through the Tea Party Express grapevine by Friday. In it, Rex Miller asserted that what his son told him he had done with the computers was different from what former mayor Whitaker had described:

One noon hour, on his own time at the borough, Joe participated in an online poll voting against Randy,” Rostad wrote in the e-mail, recounting the Thursday morning conversation he said he had with Rex Miller. “He used four office computers in the office to do it, thinking this was his chance to boost numbers to get rid of Randy. He emptied the cache files on the computers so the users wouldn’t know what he had done.

Here’s WC‘s response to Rex:

WC is glad that Miller committed his felonies on his lunch hour and not on the Borough clock. However, it’s irrelevant to the real issue. Note that Joe Miller wiped the computers’ cache files afterwards. That’s the one of the places where a computer user leaves “digital fingerprints” of what he or she has done. (Not the only one, Joe.) And that’s very good evidence that Miller knew what he was doing was wrong. He was attempting to conceal the fact a crime had taken place. He was trying to wipe the fingerprints off of the crime scene. That’s certainly evidence he knew he’d done something criminal. Oh,and that’s a separate crime, by the way. Tampering with Evidence, AS 11.56.610, and possibly Tampering with a Public Record, AS 11.56.820.

Polls are being taken over the weekend. I was polled yesterday, and two friends relate that they were polled yesterday and today by firms that asked different questions from those I was asked. The late week Rasmussen Poll, showing Miller at 35%, Lisa Murkowski at 34% and Democrat Scott McAdams at 27% (plus or minus 4.5%) shows a very close race, with McAdams making his biggest jump since the race has been polled.

This race will continue to tighten. Democratic Party gubernatorial nominee Ethan Berkowitz, in a statement issued as I’m writing, has asked Gov. Sean Parnell to look more closely at Miller:

Ethan Berkowitz had a strong reaction upon hearing the news that Alaska Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger was detained and handcuffed by a private security force hired by Senate candidate Joe Miller.

Berkowitz said, "In this country, journalists have a job to do, which includes exercising their rights and responsibilities under the First Amendment. A free press means that journalists must work without fear of muscle or muzzle.

"The fact that this was a private security guard hired by a U.S. Senate candidate in the heat of a political campaign makes this story even more outrageous. The actions of Mr. Miller’s agents against Mr. Hopfinger must be investigated and prosecuted by the State for violation of criminal statutes."

Berkowitz continued, "Even though Sean Parnell continues to stand behind Joe Miller, I call on him to follow my lead and condemn the Miller campaign for its chilling attack on a free press. That behavior has no place in Alaska, or in any free, representative democracy."

Berkowitz has been pounding Parnell on many issues and that race is tightening up quickly too. Late Friday, Republican Republican Bill Walker, who lost to Parnell in the GOP primary endorsed Berkowitz. Walker has many fierce advocates from the center and from the faction of the GOP that never liked Sarah Palin. Sean Parnell is derisively called "SP version two point zero" by many Republicans, mimicking GOP Rep. Don Young’s categorization of Parnell, for his blandness, as "Captain Zero." In the primary, here’s the way the votes broke down:

Sean Parnell (R) ————– 54,125
Bill Walker (R) ————— 35,734
Ethan Berkowitz (D) ——— 22,607
Hollis French (D) ————- 18,018

Both Walker and French have endorsed Berkowitz, and only polling conducted this coming week will reflect whether Walker’s embrace of Berkowitz will help significantly.

Update: The first video has emerged. It doesn’t show much, but Miller’s assertion that Hopfinger was violent doesn’t appear to hold any water:

_____

(1) See also "Miller town hall in Anchorage Sunday," http://community.adn.com/node/153735

(2) See also "Miller Refuses to Answer Any More Personal Questions," http://aprn.org/2010/10/11/alaska-news-nightly-october-11-2010/

(3) See also "Former mayor: Miller ‘not truthful’ about borough employment," http://www.ktva.com/topalaskanews/ci_16330640

Alaska Senate Candidate Miller Announces, Cancels, then Holds Press Conference Where He Refuses to Answer Any Questions

3:40 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

In what may be the first solid signs of a U.S. Senatorial campaign about to go off the rails, Tea Bag Express star, Sarah Palin favorite, and GOP primary nominee Joe Miller, went through a bizarre set of moves in Anchorage early Monday. Miller scheduled an 11:00 a.m. press conference. Then he cancelled it. Then he participated in an 11:45 a.m. senatorial campaign forum, held by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. Then, he did this:

Update, 1:55 p.m.: Republican nominee Joe Miller just told reporters that he will not be answering any more questions about his personal background for the remainder of the campaign.

He made the statement at an impromptu news conference after today’s debate at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. He took no questions and immediately walked out of the room.

Early Monday morning, the Alaska Dispatch announced it has filed suit against the Fairbanks-North Star Borough, to gain access to Miller’s complete personnel file for the period when he worked as an attorney for the borough:

Alaska Dispatch sued the Fairbanks North Star Borough on Monday for the release of U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller’s employment records. The suit comes after accusations that Miller was politicking on borough time.

Miller worked as a part-time attorney for the borough for seven years until his resignation in fall 2009. In the months since announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, questions have been raised about whether Miller resigned to avoid being fired, and more recently, about whether he once used borough computers for his own political activities.

A source who spoke on condition of anonymity told Alaska Dispatch that Miller was caught using borough equipment in an attempt to unseat Alaska GOP party chair Randy Ruedrich. The Miller campaign has neither denied nor confirmed the claim. A press conference was reportedly set for 11 a.m. Monday to address Miller’s past employment with the borough; however, a spokesman for Miller said the campaign had decided not to hold a conference before Monday’s noon Anchorage Chamber of Commerce candidates’ forum but might speak with reporters afterward.

The activity Miller is accused of is similar to what got Ruedrich in trouble in 2003 when it was brought to light that he was using state computers and e-mail to conduct Republican party business while working for the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. His then-co-worker Sarah Palin blew the whistle on Ruedrich’s activities, and he ended up paying a $12,000 state ethics fine. Palin is a strong Miller supporter, as is the Tea Party Express.

There is a lot of speculation about other reasons Miller might be uncomfortable with materials in his personnel jacket. As reported this morning by The Immoral Minority:

Well I certainly hope "other issues will be covered as well" because the voters of this state have a lot of questions.

Such as:

"Why did you only serve three years of active duty after leaving West Point when the requirement is five years of service?"

"You told Phil Munger that you were a seriously disabled veteran. What is the nature of your disability and do you collect disability compensation from the military?"

"You have advocated cutting federal spending which includes having Alaska refuse federal dollars. Since one third of our economy is based on those federal dollars how would you replace them? And are you considering reinstituting state income taxes, which we currently do not pay, to cover that loss?"

"And finally how do you get your beard length to say halfway between pre-adolescent teenage boy and a real Alaskan man’s facial hair? Do you suffer from a hormonal imbalance perhaps? Or is THAT the ‘serious disability’ that you told Phil about?"

Snark aside, and teasing aside, Miller’s refusal to even answer questions on why he won’t be answering questions is very reminiscent of gubernatorial candidate John Lindauer’s last appearance in front of the Alaska press in September 1998, just as his campaign began to quickly unravel.

This morning, the Tea Party Express announced it is holding off on starting its big ad campaign up here on Miller’s behalf. There may or may not be significance in that announcement.

Murkowski’s most recent report shows she’s holding about $1.2 million in her campaign chest at this point.

There will be more stories on this throughout Monday – and beyond. I’ll post updates in the comments section. I’ve got a busy day and evening, helping deal with aspects of two coal mining projects, one in the Mat-Su Valley, the other across Cook Inlet from Anchorage.

Meanwhile, feel free to learn more about Scott McAdams, the Democratic Party candidate in this race:

I posted this diary by my friend Mel Green this morning, on Scott’s speech Saturday at an LBGTQ conference.

Here’s Scott’s web page.

In Alaska, Sen. Mark Begich’s Brother Explains How Scott McAdams Can Beat Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski

9:14 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Alaska artist and political wonk, Tom Begich, was on Moore Up North today. Tom is U.S. Sen. Mark Begich’s brother. Along with brother Dr. Nick Begich, Jr, Tom is far more progressive than Mark. Tom borrowed my classroom blackboard from the University of Alaska Anchorage to illustrate two important things – why Sen. Lisa Murkowski cannot win on November 2nd as a write-in, and how close Scott McAdams may really be.

Here’s Tom’s segment from the show:

The rest of the show – a long, detailed and sometimes quite humorous interview with Democratic Party U.S. Senate candidate Scott McAdams – may be viewed here.

Joe Miller keeps on getting slammed in the Alaska press and blogs, perhaps more than any GOP candidate in a statewide race since John Lindauer, back in 1998.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →