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Joe Miller Admits He Violated Ethics Policy, Conducted Private Polling on the Job

Joe Miller
Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller AP Photo/Mark Thiessen

Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller admitted on Sunday that he had been cited for an ethics violation in 2008, just a day after an Alaska judge ordered for the release of personnel records surrounding the incident.

Miller, who is currently locked in a dead heat against incumbent and write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, said in a debate on Sunday night that he had been docked three days pay at the Fairbanks North Star Bureau for using bureau computers to conduct private polling during his lunch hour.

He said it was a mistake he had learned from, according to the Associated Press.

Former Fairbanks North Star Borough mayor Jim Whitaker said earlier this month that Miller was nearly fired from the Bureau - where he worked as a part-time lawyer -for using the computers in an attempt to oust Randy Ruedrich, head of the Alaska Republican Party, from his position.

Alaska Judge Winston Burbank ruled on Saturday that Miller's concerns regarding his right to privacy were outweighed by public interest.

"I hold that although Mr. Miller has a legitimate expectation of privacy in those documents, Mr. Miller's right to privacy is indeed outweighed by the public's significant interest in the background of a public figure who is running for the U.S. Senate," the judge said, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Burbank also argued that "individuals who run for office expect that their past will be researched and revealed, and therefore, lose their previously held expectations of privacy."

In a CNN interview last week, Miller wrote off the 2008 incident as "petty."

"The event in question is something that happened during my time off," Miller told CNN's John King.

According to Alaska's KTUU, Miller is still deciding whether or not to repeal Judge Burbank's decision.

Earlier this month, Miller said he would no longer address questions about his personal life on the campaign trail.

"We've drawn a line in the sand," Miller told reporters Monday, according to the Anchorage Daily News. "You can ask me about background, you can ask me about personal issues -- I'm not going to answer."


Lucy Madison
Lucy Madison 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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