Miller has always been free to release his own files

10.11.10 – 03:31 pm

It’s been clear for months that the only thing stopping Alaskans from getting a better understanding of Joe Miller’s years as a part-time borough attorney is Joe Miller.

That is still the case today.

Miller has declined to release his personnel files, saying that he was being prevented from doing so by the borough. Before the primary election, he said the borough was “hiding” behind the attorney-client privilege and preventing him from releasing the records that he really wanted to release.

Nothing has caused me to reconsider my statement from three months ago that this is a flimsy excuse.

Miller is free to do whatever he wants with his own files. He can end the speculation about his borough work and the circumstances of his departure by releasing the public records related to his borough job.

He met with reporters in Anchorage today, but he didn’t take questions and said he’s not going to respond to any questions about his personal life. He didn’t address the issue of his employment records in detail, except to say that his confidential personnel file has been illegally leaked to the news media and it is an “outrageous breach of my family’s privacy.”

He said he’s not going to talk any more about “personal issues.”

“You can ask me about background, you can ask me about personal issues, I’m not going to answer,” he said.

I don’t have his personnel file and I don’t know of any member of the news media who does. If the file were in circulation I would expect to see details from it published and I would expect that reporters would not be asking questions about his borough job because they would have the records that Miller says have been illegally leaked.

In addition, the Alaska Dispatch, the online newspaper that Miller singled out for criticism, would not have filed a lawsuit today seeking the release of the documents.

We should go back to Miller’s statements in July that he wants to release his employment records, but the borough is stopping him.

An assistant borough attorney wrote to Miller attorney Ward Merdes last week to say that he is free to “disclose client confidences or secrets with or without FNSB permission if (it) is reasonably necessary to defend himself in any controversy with FNSB. Therefore, no waiver of attorney client privilege appears to be necessary in order for Mr. Miller to execute a release.”

Records related to his government job in Fairbanks are not about his personal life and the issue is now in court.

Miller is asking Alaskans to send him to the United States Senate, one of the most important jobs in the nation. All of this information about his government job should be out in the open.

by Dermot Cole
© 2010