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More to the Background Checks on Joe the Plumber

November 2, 2008

Apparently, there is no such thing as a “famous person” investigation in Ohio.  Helen Jones-Kelley apparently lied – to the public and to state employees.  According to The Columbus Dispatch, a state employee, Vanessa Niekamp, was told to run a child-support check on Joseph Wurzelbacher not knowing it was Joe the Plumber.

The reason Niekamp said she was given for checking if there was a child-support case on Wurzelbacher does not match the reason given by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Director Helen Jones-Kelley said her agency checks people who are “thrust into the public spotlight,” amid suggestions they may have come into money, to see if they owe support or are receiving undeserved public assistance.

Niekamp told The Dispatch she is unfamiliar with the practice of checking on the newly famous. “I’ve never done that before, I don’t know of anybody in my office who does that and I don’t remember anyone ever doing that,” she said today.

Additionally, Niekamp was asked to cover up the investigation:

On Oct. 23, Niekamp said Doug Thompson, deputy director for child support, told her she had checked on “Joe the Plumber.” Thompson “literally demanded” that she write an e-mail to the agency’s chief privacy officer stating she checked the case for child-support purposes, she said.

Thompson told her that Jones-Kelley said Wurzelbacher might buy a plumbing business and could owe support. Thompson said he replied that he “would check him out.”

Niekamp, 38, a senior child-support manager, said she never heard any discussion of politics amid what her supervisors told her about the checks on Wurzelbacher.

Worried about her $69,000-a-year job and potential criminal charges, the 15-year state employee said she went to Inspector General Thomas P. Charles on Oct. 24. She has seen employees fired, and dismissed one herself, for illegally accessing personal information in support cases. Niekamp, a registered Republican, said politics played no role in what she told investigators.

I hope people are paying attention to this.  I think we can expect even more in an Obama dictatorship presidency.

Hat tip: Hot Air

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From → Election, Obama, Politics

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