Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blogger Dan Riehl Questions Whether Or Not Senator Lisa Murkowski Used Cocaine Prior To Becoming A U.S. Senator

Update October 14th: The Murkowski campaign has denied charges that Lisa Murkowski ever used cocaine. Read story in Alaska Dispatch.

Apparently there is no "bottom" to the U.S. Senate campaign between Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski. Now, blogger Dan Riehl is raising the question as to whether or not Lisa Murkowski used cocaine before she became a U.S. Senator in 1998, and it's been picked up by LisaMurkowskiExposed. While I've seen no mainstream media substantiation of these allegations, the blog, Riehl's World View, does have some credibility as it is listed in Wikio's Top 50 political blogs, a distinction shared by other top blogs on both sides of the aisle, such as Daily Kos, Think Progress, Hot Air, and Michelle Malkin. Not even The Alaska Standard and Mudflats make that cut.

Update: Conservatives4Palin has now picked up on the story, and they want to know why the Anchorage Daily News has not addressed it. Joe Miller's campaign has wisely steered clear for the time being.

Update #2: KFQD conservative talk show host Dan Fagan, who's a Miller supporter, isn't swallowing this story. When a caller attempted to raise the issue at around 4:25 P.M. on the program, Fagan cut him off and ordered the remark struck from the record.

The post in question is entitled "Murkowski Camp: No Comment On Senator's Alleged History Of Cocaine Abuse". The specific allegation is that Lisa Murkowski may have occasionally used cocaine amongst a small circle of associates until 1998, when her political career began. There are NO allegations that she has used cocaine since 1998. Several of Riehl's sources corroborated the allegations, but refused to go on record. It wasn't until one source, Anchorage attorney Rick Helms, agreed to go on the record that Dan Riehl decided to go public. Helms ran unsuccessfully against Murkowski for the Republican nomination for what was then House District 14 in 1998; he was defeated by nearly a two-to-one margin in the primary.

Helms told Riehl, "I received many calls back then alleging that Ms. Murkowski used cocaine in substantial amounts for a prolonged period of time...I told some of the callers that if the information, well if the information if it was true it was clearly a felony crime, and they could contact the police or the District Attorney, or if they wanted even Crime Stoppers where they could remain anonymous. The answer was almost always the same which was 'they won’t do anything because she’s Lisa Murkowski, or she is Frank’s daughter'." Helms claims to have brought the allegations directly to the attention of Murkowski back then in a private conversation at the television studios of KAKM Channel 7, where they were appearing together at a candidate forum called "Running." Murkowski did not deny the allegations, though Helms did tell her he did not plan to inject them into their campaign - and he didn't.

But Dan Riehl took one more step before going public. He contacted the Murkowski campaign and asked them a series of questions about the alleged cocaine use, as well as one question about how her experience with PMBR relates to a copyright issue. PMBR, a company which provides preparatory material for bar exams, was hit with an $11.9 million judgment for stealing copyrighted test questions. Lisa Murkowski flunked the Alaska bar exam the first four time she took it, and finally passed it on the fifth try after she took a preparatory course in Oregon offered by PMBR.

After a brief call with Murkowski's campaign manager, Riehl sent them the five questions in writing, as requested. Given a lack of response, he then texted and emailed her campaign manager, telling him he would treat the lack of response as a no comment. And that's what Dan Riehl ended up with -- no comment. The Murkowski campaign never replied to Dan Riehl's query, even though the campaign has shrilly and incessantly demanded that Joe Miller bare his entire personal history to the public.

Perhaps this is another reason why Joe Miller decided to slam the door shut on any further questions regarding his personal life. It does appear as if the Alaska media is holding Miller to a higher standard than Lisa Murkowski. Even Alaska Dispatch reporter Craig Medred, an accredited journalist, openly admits that Miller is being singled out for special treatment...and basically tells him to suck it up. To their credit, Alaska Dispatch is also resurrecting Murkowski's 2006 land deal.

Personally, Dan Riehl does not consider the possibility that Lisa Murkowski might have used cocaine in the past to be a disqualifier. His issue is disclosure -- why doesn't the Murkowski campaign respond to the allegation? We Alaskans are adults -- we're not afraid of a Yes answer. A Yes answer won't disqualify her -- I'm more interested in the candidates' positions on the issues, and, in the case of Murkowski, how well her positions square with her voting record as a U.S. Senator and how well she can explain changes in her political philosophy. In fact, Senator Murkowski's voting record on Vote Smart indicates she's supported a hard line on crime issues, and earned a zero rating from the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors, which emphasizes "treatment" over justice.

If Lisa Murkowski wants full disclosure from Joe Miller, she should set the example herself.

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