Joe Miller's Wife Collected Unemployment Benefits

In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 2, 2010, Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller campaigns door-to-door in Anchorage, Alaska. Miller, a decorated combat veteran, former judge and blame-Washington candidate, has the support of the tea party movement and the backing of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in his bid to unseat Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Aug. 24 Alaska Republican primary election. AP Photo/Mark Thiessen

Joe Miller
AP Photo/Mark Thiessen

Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller confirmed to the Alaska Dispatch Monday that his wife once collected unemployment benefits after leaving a job working for Miller while he was a magistrate judge.

Earlier this year, Miller said Congress should not extend unemployment benefits because the federal aid is not "constitutionally authorized."

In recent weeks, the Dispatch reports, Miller has fine-tuned his position on unemployment benefits, saying they should be managed by the states rather than the federal government.

In response to questions on the matter, Miller on Monday released a statement explaining that his wife worked for him as a clerk while he was a part-time Federal Magistrate judge from 2002 to 2004. Miller's statement, as provided by the Dispatch, reads:

"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."

While some in Alaska have reportedly questioned whether Miller's wife should have been working for him, the Republican said, "I welcome any and all discussion on nepotism when it pertains to all of the candidates of the U.S. Senate race." He was alluding to the fact that incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is running as a write-in candidate, was first appointed to her Senate seat in 2002 by her father.

Miller, with the backing of the Tea Party, won the Republican Senate nomination with a small government campaign. He recently said there should be no federal minimum wage.

It was reported late last month that Miller received federal subsidies for farmland he owned in Kansas in the 1990s.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Campaign 2010



Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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