In Alaska, Miller won't reveal history of federal benefits

Joe Miller, the Republican vying for Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (R) seat in Alaska, is declining to reveal what federal assistance (if any) he's received in the past, the Anchorage Daily News reported this week.

Miller, a Tea Party candidate who defeated Murkowski in the GOP primary in August, has said that the federal entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid are unconstitutional and should therefore be run by the states.

But asked if Miller's family has benefited from any government-funded programs for low-income folks, his office clammed up.

"I don’t know why we have to answer just broadside questions on, 'Did Joe ever receive…?'" Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto told the Daily News by phone Wednesday. "I mean, do we have to tell? 

"It seems to me that if a specific question comes up, or raised by specific facts, maybe we should have to answer."

Miller, who says his parents receive both Social Security and Medicare benefits, is calling on the privatization of both, for the sake of reining in spending in Washington.

Still, it hasn't prevented him from tapping government subsidies in the past. 

In the 1990s, Miller received more than $7,000 in federal farm subsidies for land he owned in Kansas, the Alaska Dispatch reported last month. 

More recently, the Anchorage Daily News discovered that Miller and his wife got a low-income discount on Alaska hunting and fishing licenses while Miller was earning $70,000 per year as an attorney.

Miller, a father of eight, told The Associated Press last month that the benefits his family has received in the past are "pretty darn irrelevant" to the current Senate race.