Skip to comments.State employee says she was ordered to check out Joe the Plumber
Posted on 10/31/2008 5:48:32 PM PDT by buccaneer81
State employee says she was ordered to check out Joe the Plumber Friday, October 31, 2008 8:21 PM By Randy Ludlow The Columbus Dispatch Vanessa Niekamp said that when was asked to run a child-support check on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher on Oct. 16, she thought it routine. A supervisor told her the man had contacted the state agency about his case.
Niekamp didn't know she just had checked on "Joe the Plumber," who was elevated the night before to presidential politics prominence as Republican John McCain's example in a debate of an average American.
The senior manager would not learn about "Joe" for another week, when she said her boss informed her and directed her to write an e-mail stating her computer check was a legitimate inquiry.
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.
Democrat Gov. Ted Strickland and Jones-Kelley, both supporters of Democrat Barack Obama, have denied political motives in checking on Wurzelbacher. The Toledo-area resident later endorsed McCain. State officials say any information on "Joe" is confidential and was not released.
Today,Strickland press secretary Keith Dailey said neither the governor's office nor Job and Family Services officials could comment due to an ongoing investigation by Ohio's inspector general.
Republican legislators have called the checks suspicious and Jones-Kelley's reason for them flimsy. They are demanding to know whether state computers were accessed in an attempt to dig up dirt on Wurzelbacher.
Jones-Kelley has revealed that her agency also checked Wurzelbacher to see if he was receiving welfare assistance or owed unemployment compensation taxes. "Joe the Plumber" has said he is not involved in a child-support case.
About 3 p.m. on Oct. 16, Niekamp said Carrie Brown, assistant deputy director for child support, asked her to run Wurzelbacher through the computer. Citing privacy laws, Niekamp would not say what, if anything, was found on "Joe."
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.
The e-mail that Niekamp said she wrote was not among records provided yesterday to The Dispatch in response to a public-records request. Nor did the agency, as required by state law, say it withheld any records.
Strickland spokesman Dailey later said one e-mail was withheld from The Dispatch because its release is prohibited by federal or state law. He did not explain under what specific law the e-mail was withheld.
Our political system is so corrupt that we’d be better off without the government. Heck, we’ve got only vigilante justice anyway.
Heh heh heh. They shouldn’t have tried to throw her under the bus for their “messiah.” I hope she squeals like a pig.
I hear ya, but in this case, I’m inclined to believe them. If it could be proven they were leaking confidential information to the press, that would be one thing. But this sounds plausible.
Let’s turn over these rocks to see what kind of vermin crawl out from underneath.
The democrat crime machine needs to be exposed.
Niekamp should be treated as a “WHISTLEBLOWER” and REWARDED for stepping up when she realized what happened and a COVERUP was Underway!!
This lady sounds pretty plausible, actually; it obviously was not her idea to look up Joe’s records, and she clearly wasn’t familiar with who he was (since he was very recent news at that point). After all, you don’t expect the Dem honchos to do their own dirty work, do you? It’s better to pass if off on some schmo who works for a living.
She be squealing — Not going quietly, not taking one for the team.
May I ask a stupid question? Why isn’t there a paper trail for these requests? A written request when someone wants a check run. Or if there should be a written request, why didn’t Niekamp ask for it when she was told to do the check in the first place? And if she did ask and wasn’t given the request in writing, why didn’t Niekamp tell what’s-her-face to go urinate up a rope?
Turning over a ROCK you get Ants, worms, snakes and Under the SNAKES you find DEMOCRATS
This poor woman will probably be fired under an Obama administration
Order probably came from Brunner herself.
The plot thickens...
“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.”
Sing it, sister!!!
Not sure what you think is BS.
It looks like this woman is trying to save her job by blowing the whistle on her boss.
This should be great entertainment, if it doesn't get swept under the carpet by the Dems and their media buddies.
All good questions.
This is a lie.
What is it with bureaucrats? Just check your brains and spines at the door?
They are already using the “just following orders” excuse used by nazis, Bolsheiviks, Pol Pot’s goons, ChiComs Cultural Revolution, and other thugs who tried to excuse their genocide. God help us if Obama wins - but he won’t.
sticklands dirty hands are all over this. I can smell it. Possible impeachable offense if enough people sing.
At the very least, he's in on the cover-up.
Most of the stuff in his confidential records was immediate leaked to the press, because the press immediately went public with it. One of the leakers has already been connected to a reporter.
Where else did the press get it?
It also fits the clear pattern of the Obama campaign. Anyone who criticizes Obama in any way, or makes him look bad, or doesn't bow down low enough, is immediately attacked.
Paging the 'Rats: Obama's making Tricky Dickie look like a piker.
Why isnt there a paper trail for these requests? A written request when someone wants a check run<<
The agency probably has lots of legitimate checks to run, at the request of the parties, at the request of public welfare offices and courts in Ohio and elsewhere, at the request of employers. Current laws on child support require wage attachments, even before the payor has demonstrated irresponsibility.
There should definitely be a record at least as to the general reason for the request and who made it.
It's part of the coming "change", dearee.
Yep. At my job, if following orders means violating procedure, then you are toast. Of course in state government...
Right, why wasn’t this explained at the beginning?
Friend of mine once lost his wallet in Moscow, reported it to the police, and became the subject of an investigation.
**Current laws on child support require wage attachments, even before the payor has demonstrated irresponsibility.**
NY Child support wanted $60/week from me for child support... “WHAT CHILD?” Who is the Mother of this Alleged CHILD? THEY WOULDN’T TELL ME!! They just wanted a check.. before I hung up, I stopped laughing, asked the guy on the phone “Has she narrowed it down to 8 Potentials yet?? then I hung up!
Child support program is Exactly what OBAMA REGIME going to be like.
PAY FIRST, ask questions later... so Niekamp may have done exactly what her job description and UNION RULES require her to do... so I’m giving her credit for coming forward at first smell of a coverup!
Uh, I would think one aspect of her job is to check up on deadbeats. She was just told Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher needed to be checked, and thought nothing of it, just do her job.
It’s only later that she realised who it was. Because it was only later that she found out who he was.
There is a time for following orders, and other times, no. She wasn’t asked to light up ovens and whatnots. She did her job as per normal. Albeit it was weird why her bosses were so enthusiastic about some randon Joseph guy.
So, can the idiotic comparisons.
I could take a guess.
Ohio Dept of Jobs and Family Services mission and values:
* Mission: To help Ohioans improve the quality of their lives.
* Values: Accountability Compassion Integrity Respect Teamwork
What a joke!
**Why isnt there a paper trail for these requests?**
Not a stupid questsion, but we are talking about a government run by DEMOCRATS. From that you can expect just about ANYTHING!
If you’ve ever lived under SINGLE PARTY RULE, they do whatever they want, because they CAN! Question any govt agency you will get the JOE THE PLUMBER Treatment.
Yet Strickland will not order any type of investigation, or say it should not have happened. Strickland is a co-conspirator.
I would like to see one other example of that happening and how Joe's case got leaked to the press.
Wow, awfully worked up, aren’t we? Are you paid with tax dollars, by chance?
At least a local newspaper had the audacity to report it.
Damn this police state bs lately. The Plumber has a lot more patience than my redneck side would if this were my God-given rights being put to the test.
Not Guilty! Her Demonrat bosses should be arrested.
**Damn this police state bs lately.**
It will not be BS should BO win Tuesday. Joe the Plumber’s Treatment will be SOP ...PDQ!
I hope Joe gets a good lawyer and sues.
I'm sure they've been banging on Joe's door since day one.
According to the article she's a Republican so why should she?