Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ethan Berkowitz Challenges Parnell to Investigate Miller's Probable Poaching

I. Democratic Party Gubernatorial candidate, Ethan Berkowitz is challenging the Governor to look into Republican Party U.S. senate candidate Joe Miller's questionable actions involving hunting permits, before Miller was an Alaska resident, as defined by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game:

In response to Ethan Berkowitz' commonsense proposal to restore integrity to the Executive Branch by ensuring that all future Attorneys General could not be fired by the Governor's whim, Sean Parnell's campaign went on the attack while he pulled his famous hiding act. His spokeswoman said Sean is of "highest integrity"and then attacked Ethan Berkowitz for trying to ensure that, in the future, Governors will be held accountable if they break the Constitution.

Berkowitz responded, "If Sean Parnell is of the 'highest integrity', he'll have no problem answering three questions for Alaskans:

1. Sean, will you immediately direct the Attorney General and Department of Public Safety to investigate Joe Miller's fraudulent hunting license application? Joe Miller signed a release at the time that gave the Department of Public Safety the right to investigate application fraud. Will you order an investigation immediately, or does your endorsement of Miller last week mean that you will refuse to investigate his fraud?

2. Will you move immediately to recover all of the fraudulent payroll disbursed to your illegal hires - Gene Therriault and Nancy Dahlstrom - along with the amount of the pension that was inflated by Therriault's acceptance of the position?

3. And finally, will you immediately release the Troopergate emails that you have been hiding for Sarah Palin? As of yesterday, 13 extensions had been filed to hide her actions and you are responsible. Will you stop stonewalling and release the emails?

Berkowitz' response to the Parnell administration's continuing performance lapses in what liberals, moderates and conservatives alike should consider honest government to be, are disturbing. And I'm glad to see the Alaska media covering this.

The Berkowitz-Benson campaign is one of the most imaginative in recent Alaska history. To say that it is better run than Ethan's 2008 race against Rep. Don Young would be putting it mildly. Berkowitz' four-part challenge for more innovative state policies on several levels is bold. Parnell's responses to each new detail have been pathetic, and the rapidity of the Berkowitz campaign's ability to respond has been remarkable. Comments at Kyle Hopkins' story on this are interesting:

Don't hold your breath waiting for Parnell to do any of these things. Especially the emails. I'm voting for Berkowitz, who is more of a conservative than Captain Zero.


Parnell should investigate Joe "Toto" Miller with the same vigor that he is going after Natives for catching subsistence fish for elders.


I think Sean Parnell is using his office to further his own causes and he is not doing what is in the best interests of our state.

His personal beliefs prevented 1700 Alaskan children from getting health insurance coverage.

As an oil lobbyist he nixed millions of dollars in alternative energy funds, at a time when we should be diversifying our energy sources, especially in our rural communities.

Even when oil companies say they do not have the technology to clean up oil spills in Arctic waters Sean Parnell is suing the Federal Government for preventing drilling in these waters.

We need a Governor that will work with the Federal Government to assure that drilling can be done safely in our state, not a Governor that wants drilling regardless of the risks!

We need a Governor that will always seek to use the best possible science available, not a Governor that turns their back on all science.

II. Alaska's finest investigative reporter, Richard Mauer, posted a story at the ADN political blog Friday afternoon that looks like the preliminaries for a much more detailed look at Miller's financial past. The blog entry lacks Mauer's usual precise coherence.

It looks at the early history of the Millers and of the financing and rebuilding of their first house. Here's the opening:

When U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller and wife Kathleen applied for their low-income resident fishing, hunting and trapping licenses in 1995, they were homeowners with a mortgage and embarking on an extensive remodel of their Hillside property.

Since our initial reports on Monday in the Politics blog and Wednesday in the print newspaper, we‘ve gotten files on the Miller property from the state recorder‘s office and two city offices -- property appraisal and the building safety division, which issues building permits and inspects the work that was done.

In 1995, residents who qualified for the low-income fish and game license paid $5 instead of the regular $55 fee. Non-residents paid $300.

The Alaska resident low-income license requires a person to have been a permanent Alaska resident for the previous 12 months. The person must also either be on welfare or have an annual family gross income of less than $8,200 for the year before applying for the license.

The public records raise new questions about the indigent status of the Millers, who, before they got the low-income licenses, were able to obtain a mortgage and start the remodel that would more than double the size of the home.

Mauer goes on to detail, as much as can be done, the financing and licensing surrounding the early history of the Hillside home. Mauer doesn't get into details of whether or not Miller was an Alaska resident at the time he obtained the license, as specified under ADF&G regulations. That seems to be the thrust of Berkowitz' request toward Parnell. It is also the thrust of Craig Medred's Alaska Dispatch article last week, headlined (perhaps accurately) "Joe Miller's hunting and fishing license likely violated residency requirement."

Miller did not break the current state law requiring hunters and fishermen be "physically present" in the state for 12 months before obtaining his first resident hunting and fishing license; he did, however, break what was the existing law at the time. The law on residency was amended in 1998.

When Miller bought his first resident hunting and fishing license in 1995, state law (AS16.05.940(26)) said this: "'Resident' means a person who for the preceding 12 consecutive months has maintained a permanent place of abode in the state and who has continually maintained a voting residence in the state..."

Miller and his wife, Kathleen, bought a house in Anchorage in 1994. Joe established his voting residence in the state on Sept. 16, 1994. He would have become a legal resident of Alaska for hunting and fishing purposes on Sept. 16, 1995.

On July 31, 1995 he claimed to be a resident in order to buy a $5 license available only to indigent residents of Alaska. The license was available only to those with a gross income under $8,200. Miller has not disclosed his gross income for the period in question.

There was no such cheap license for nonresidents. Nonresidents were required to pay $300.

The key words here are "physically present." Others have been cited for illegally obtaining resident hunting and fishing licenses in Alaska after doing exactly what Miller did. And there have been some cases in which people who have been in the state 11 straight months without sojourns Outside have been cited because they did not wait the final month before getting such a license.

To me, the most interesting comment at Medred's article is this:

What this shows is a mindset that this man had at the time. He consciously availed himself of resource of that are owned by the people of Alaska at a discount rate. He used a program that was meant to help poor people to enrich himself. The amount of $ is insignificant, but the morals are. He undercut our government programs that are meant to preserve and protect our resources.

Miller's mindset came up in comments about him at other stories too. Here's one from the Richard Mauer blog entry:

What this shows is a mindset that this man had at the time. He consciously availed himself of resource of that are owned by the people of Alaska at a discount rate. He used a program that was meant to help poor people to enrich himself. The amount of $ is insignificant, but the morals are. He undercut our government programs that are meant to preserve and protect our resources.

III. The newest article to question Miller's abuse of government programs was posted at The Alaska Dispatch late Friday by Patti Epler:

U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller bought a 1,000-acre tract of land near Delta Junction with a $77,400 state loan under a program aimed at promoting the development of Alaska agriculture.

But the land, purchased in 1999, has never been farmed and Miller himself has said it sits "overgrown" and unused.

Miller did not respond to a request for comment about why he bought the land and then never farmed it or used it for other agricultural purposes.

Epler observes that though state law doesn't require the land to be farmed, the loan cannot be granted without the potential borrower submitting a plan for use:

For the agricultural loan, however, applicants also have to submit a five-year farm plan, stating what they intend to do with the property. The decision on whether to approve the loan is based in part on that plan.

But, Easley said, the five-year plans are also not public record under state law.

Scott McAdams needs to do as has Ethan Berkowitz, and demand openness.

His campaign should challenge Miller to release a copy of his agricultural plan he had to submit to get the agricultural loan.


majii said...

Backed by the tea party groups and Palin, Miller will not discuss these issues, will pretend that everything he has done has been legal and ethical, and/or will wait until the last few days before November 2 to release any documents. Palin never really released her medical records. All she released was a statement from her physician that basically stated that she was "healthy" the day before the election in 2008. Please keep digging, and make Miller face the music before November 2.

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between Joke Miller getting a low income hunting and fishing license and a rural subsistence user catching a coho for elders.

Color !
Nevermind the rural subsistence user was making sure the elders were fed.
Nevermind that the state shut down the coho subsistence fishery with data from a broken fish counter.

Parnell and his drunkard F&G Commish Denby Lloyd used state resourses to go after the subsistence users... And the idiots realized it was stoooopid, enlight of the broken fish counter would of muted their argument to begin with.
Stupid fuck ups.

But hey, Joke Miller gets away with milking the system.

So is Parnell gonna show his face at AFN this year?
I won't be pretty.

Anonymous said...

Berkowitz is blowing in the wind with his request to Parnell. Parnell will totally ignore him.

Parnell has almost no presence and when he does show he exists, we see Parnell's lack of integrity and lack of ideas for the State. AG Dan Sullivan is Parnell's lapdog. "You-have-learned-well Grasshopper" Miller is pursuing government handouts for himself while denying them to those in need. And the whole sorry lot dances jigs for their Quitter Queen.

I'm not particularly looking forward to it, but I'm going to vote for Berkowitz. Politically we're far apart, but he has integrity and I respect him.

Anonymous said...

Even though I am a republican i plan on voting for Ethan. Will be the first time in my life voting for a democrat.
I am impressed with his tenacity and his great ideas. i am impressed with this post! Go get em Ethan! Miler is repulsive and the Quitter's butt-boy and Parnell is such a pussy! Makes me think Sarah is still pulling the strings in the Gov's office.

wakeUpAmerica said...

What about investigating the Tundra Turd for hunting caribou without a license as well? Might as well cast the net a bit wider, eh?

Anonymous said...

Reporters and candidates should also demand that Miller release his DD214 for public scrutiny. His failure to do so is a huge red flag.