Stacy Parks Miller did not want the Centre County elections board to recuse itself.
The Centre County District Attorney responded to requests Thursday that used the board’s recusal in January to try to suggest retaliation by releasing a letter she wrote to the Pennsylvania secretary of state, Pedro Cortez.
The letter to Cortez dated Feb. 21 asks for “guidance on a matter of election law.”
Parks Miller explains the complicated relationship between the county commissioners, who make up the board, and herself, including two lawsuits. The commissioners are not running for re-election this year. Parks Miller confirms in the letter that she is seeking her third term.
The board recused themselves. Solicitor Betsy DuPuis told the Centre Daily Times in February they “felt strongly” that there was a conflict of interest.
But Parks Miller said she was contacted Feb. 2 by a resident concerned the move wasn’t legal under state election code.
“My initial impression, upon reviewing the relevant statutes and conferring with my own counsel, is that the citizen complaint may be correct. While it is incumbent upon individual commissioners sitting as the Board of Elections to refrain from considering matters in which he could not be fair and impartial, surely that cannot be the case for all candidates, or in every election, or election district, within the county this year,” she wrote to Cortez, adding that a “blanket recusal” seemed contrary to the language of the code.
Parks Miller said she took the private consultation steps to minimize “more negative public attention” on the commissioners.
Her attorney, Bruce Castor, said the mischaracterization of her actions by Gene Stilp and Eric Epstein in their announcement of a Centre County Accountability Project on Thursday made their motives suspect.
“If, in fact, the people who have advanced today’s agenda wanted to convince the press that the DA pressured the commissioners into recusing themselves from the election board, their credibility should now seriously be called into question,” he said.
Stilp said his motivations are not political.