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.
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