Near the end of its story today on the latest government agency snooping on Joe the plumber, the Columbus Dispatch reports:
[Helen] Jones-Kelley[, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services] also has denied any connections between the computer checks on Wurzelbacher and her support for Obama. She donated the maximum $2,500 this year to the Obama campaign.And, of course, Ohio’s Democratic governor Ted Strickland says there’s no political motivation behind any of the Ohio government snoops into Joe’s confidential records.
Today’s Dispatch story begins - - -
A state agency has revealed that its checks of computer systems for potential information on "Joe the Plumber" were more extensive than it first acknowledged.
Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, disclosed today that computer inquiries on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher were not restricted to a child-support system.
The agency also checked Wurzelbacher in its computer systems to determine whether he was receiving welfare assistance or owed unemployment compensation taxes, she wrote.
Jones-Kelley made the revelations in a letter to Ohio Senate President Bill M. Harris, R-Ashland, who demanded answers on why state officials checked out Wurzelbacher.
Harris called the multiple records checks "questionable" and said he awaits more answers. "It's kind of like Big Brother is looking in your pocket," he said.
If state employees run checks on every person listed in newspaper stories as buying a business, "it must take a lot of people a lot of time to run these checks," he said. "Where do you draw the line?"
The checks were run after the news media reported that Wurzelbacher was considering buying a plumbing business with more than $250,000 in annual income, Jones-Kelley wrote.
"Given our understanding that Mr. Wurzelbacher had publicly indicated that he had the means to purchase a substantial business enterprise, ODJFS, consistent with past departmental practice, checked confidential databases ," she wrote. [ It isn’t true the Joe said he had the means to buy the business. That’s clear from the transcript. - - JinC]
"Not surprisingly, when a person behind in child support payments or receiving public assistance is receiving significant media attention which suggests that the person appears to have available financial resources, the Department risks justifiable criticism if it fails to take note and respond," Jones-Kelley wrote.
The results of the searches were not publicly released and remain confidential, she wrote. Wurzelbacher has said he is not involved in a child-support case and has not purchased any business.
Jones-Kelley wrote that the checks were "well-meaning," but misinterpreted amid the heated final weeks of a presidential election. …
The administration of Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland has said the information was not improperly shared and that there were no political motives behind the checks.
The Dispatch has uncovered four uses of state computer systems to access personal information on Wurzelbacher, including the child-support check authorized by Jones-Kelley.
She said on Monday that her department frequently runs checks for any unpaid child support obligations "when someone is thrust quickly into the public spotlight."
Republican legislators have challenged Jones-Kelley's reason for checking on Wurzelbacher as "frightening" and flimsy. …
The entire Dispatch story’s here.
For more on the Ohio governments abuse of Joe's privacy, see this post from yesterday - More Joe the Plumber "record-checking."
Folks, you know if these government snoops were happening to an Obama supporter and terrorism advocate such as Will Ayers, the liberal/leftist MSM would be screaming bloody murder about invasions of privacy, violations of the Constitution and the “frightening specter of a lawless government.”
But, hey, Joe’s a conservative and a McCain-Palin supporter, so the NYT, WaPo, NPR and the rest treat it as no big deal.
The MSM double standard damages America. Most of our media think partisan advantage when they should think and speak what's right in treating a citizen.
When the Dems get a firmer grip on Congress, things will only get worse.