U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller confirmed Monday night that his wife -- once hired to work as a part-time clerk for the same Alaska court in which he was serving as a U.S. magistrate judge -- went on unemployment after she left the job.
Miller is running on a self-described constitutional conservative platform, arguing that the nation must return to the principles and powers penned by the founding fathers to save it from bankruptcy. Putting an end to entitlements on a national level and empowering states has been a key message in his campaign.
In the weeks leading up to the admission about his wife's unemployment history, Miller has finessed his message on unemployment benefits, saying he's not opposed to them but that they should be managed by the states -- not the feds.
On Monday, in response to a blogger's post and questions from reporters, the Miller campaign issued a statement detailing how his wife -- Kathleen Miller -- worked for him while he was serving as a part-time U.S. magistrate in the rural Alaska town of Tok.
Miller held the magistrate position for the District Court out of Fairbanks from June 21, 2002 through June 1, 2004, earning a total of $71,418. Kathleen Miller worked as a part-time clerk for him from June 2002 to December 2002, according to a resume she submitted to the state last year when she pursued an appointment to the Alaska Judicial Council.
After she left her clerk job, she briefly went on state unemployment, Miller acknowledged in a statement:
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.