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Worker says 'Joe the Plumber' cover-up was forced upon her
Dispatch Politics ^ | 12/05/2008 | Catherine Candisky

Posted on 12/05/2008 2:07:47 PM PST by Big_Monkey

The state worker who unwittingly ran an improper child-support check on the man known as Joe the Plumber told lawmakers yesterday that a deputy director later "dictated" how she was supposed to cover it up.

Vanessa Niekamp, an administrator for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services' Office of Child Support and a 15-year state employee, said that when Deputy Director Doug Thompson came into her office, "He appeared very upset, his neck was bright red, and he was shaking. He closed my door."

Thompson told her she must write an e-mail to the agency's information-security officer, and then "dictated word for word" what she wrote, Niekamp said. He also reminded her that she could be fired at any time, she said.

"Within an hour, I took the rest of the day off -- again using my vacation time -- and went directly to the office of the inspector general. I told them everything I knew about what happened."

Niekamp took another day of vacation yesterday to testify before the House State Government and Elections Committee about legislation that calls for the firing of any unclassified state employee who improperly accesses confidential personal information.

Rep. Shannon Jones, a Springboro Republican sponsoring House Bill 648, said she introduced the measure because she thinks that high-ranking officials such as Job and Family Services Director Helen Jones-Kelley weren't punished enough.

"The systematic misuse of government databases and the governor's woeful under-reaction to state government workers engaging in this outrageous behavior make House Bill 648 necessary," she told the committee.

Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, placed Jones-Kelley on a one-month unpaid suspension last month after Inspector General Thomas P. Charles found she authorized the check on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, for no legitimate government purpose.

Thompson also was suspended for a month after Charles found that he participated in directing the check and instructed Niekamp to send a deceptive e-mail about it. Three others received lesser punishment.

The checks came the day after Republican presidential nominee John McCain talked about Wurzelbacher in his final presidential debate Oct. 15 with Democrat Barack Obama.

The next day, Niekamp said, Assistant Deputy Director Carri Brown asked her to check the state child-support computer system for Wurzelbacher.

Brown "claimed that he had contacted our agency with a dispute about how much child support he owed," Niekamp said.

Niekamp, who did not recognize the name, said Brown took some notes, thanked her and left.

A week later, Thompson came to her office with a different explanation -- that he, Jones-Kelley and assistant director Fred Williams had requested the check.

"Doug told me that the person Carri had asked me to look up was Joe the Plumber -- the one who was talked about in the national news. He said he needed my help explaining something," Niekamp said.

"Doug then told me I must write an e-mail to our agency's information-security officer to explain why the file had been accessed. He turned my computer screen so he could see it and dictated word for word what he wanted me to write. ...

"He then told me that we needed to make sure that we answer questions about what happened the same way, so that our versions were not different from each other. Before he said that, he reminded me that I was an unclassified employee -- which, as you may know, is someone who can be fired without cause."

Niekamp said she knew the checks were improper because the staff undergoes training and must read and sign a form explaining when they can access confidential and personal information maintained by the department.

"Both Doug and Carri can access the (child-support) system and could have accessed a file without my involvement," Niekamp said. "To this day, I do not understand why they asked me to look at this information when they could have easily done this themselves."


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Front Page News; Government; Politics/Elections; US: Ohio
KEYWORDS: abuseofpower; brown; carribrown; conspiracy; corruptdems; corruption; criminalconspiracy; cultureofcorruption; democratscandals; dncbrownshirts; dougthompson; joetheplumber; joneskelley; liars; mediablackout; oh2008; ohio; orwelliannightmare; political; shadowgovernment; shesavictim; thompson; victimology; waronjoe; watergateii; wurzelbacher
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Hopefully, Joe the Plumber will soon be bringing a civil case in this matter. It's time to get these Ohio dems under oath and on the record.
1 posted on 12/05/2008 2:07:48 PM PST by Big_Monkey
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To: Big_Monkey

More/related (good comments)
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2143219/posts


2 posted on 12/05/2008 2:09:36 PM PST by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: Big_Monkey

This should be a big story—a state agency engineers a political hit job on an average citizen who embarrassed a candidate and then tried to cover it up. That should by dynamite. But we all know this will end up going nowhere.


3 posted on 12/05/2008 2:11:53 PM PST by Opinionated Blowhard
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To: Big_Monkey

Joe just might be able to buy that plumbing business after all.


4 posted on 12/05/2008 2:12:14 PM PST by ComputerGuy (not my real name)
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To: Big_Monkey

I wish I could be on that jury!

Uncle Teddy better watch his back.


5 posted on 12/05/2008 2:12:26 PM PST by griswold3
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To: Big_Monkey

Deputy Director Doug Thompson...thief and criminal. Get rid of him.


6 posted on 12/05/2008 2:12:27 PM PST by Dallas59 (Not My President)
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To: Big_Monkey

This is much bigger than a civil suit. Did someone in the Obama campaign or DNC ask for these record checks? They’re trying to screw the underlings without asking where the direction came from.

If Obama’s people were behind this they need to be uncovered.


7 posted on 12/05/2008 2:14:22 PM PST by BigBobber
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To: Big_Monkey

guvmint worker victimology...bump


8 posted on 12/05/2008 2:14:34 PM PST by VOA
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To: Big_Monkey
someone who can be fired without cause."

How about fired with cause? That should have happened for at least two of them. I think it's called conspiracy, on top of illegal tampering of personal records.

9 posted on 12/05/2008 2:14:57 PM PST by Freee-dame
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To: Big_Monkey

good for this lady, it takes guts in this day of msm worship of the messiah to stand up and do the right thing.


10 posted on 12/05/2008 2:15:35 PM PST by machogirl (taglines are like shoes: if you're a gal, you can never have too many)
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To: Big_Monkey
"He then told me that we needed to make sure that we answer questions about what happened the same way, so that our versions were not different from each other. Before he said that, he reminded me that I was an unclassified employee -- which, as you may know, is someone who can be fired without cause."

For no other reason than this he should be fired, but possibly spend some time in jail.

11 posted on 12/05/2008 2:18:15 PM PST by WHBates
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To: Big_Monkey

Merry Fitzmas, this goes all the way to the top! The Old Media will be on this just like Karl Rove.

Pray for W, America and Our Troops


12 posted on 12/05/2008 2:19:34 PM PST by bray (All thats left of my 401K is a little Change and very little Hope.)
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To: Big_Monkey
"Within an hour, I took the rest of the day off -- again using my vacation time -- and went directly to the office of the inspector general. I told them everything I knew about what happened."

Good for her. What the boss did is obstruction of justice. He should not have been suspended without pay. He should have been fired, had his pension stripped from him and then prosecuted and jailed.

I'd be willing to bet that his instructions came from higher up and he was promised protection. I wouldn't be surprised to see that his missing pay is covered by an envelope full of cash dropped off at his house.

13 posted on 12/05/2008 2:20:52 PM PST by KarlInOhio (11/4: The revolutionary socialists beat the Fabian ones. Where can we find a capitalist party?)
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To: Big_Monkey

In the future, note the Activism sidebar is reserved for News/Activism of the FR chapters and not this.


14 posted on 12/05/2008 2:21:43 PM PST by Admin Moderator
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To: WHBates

Not that the Feds spend a lot of time publicizing these things, but I’m very surprised I haven’t read anywhere about a Federal civil rights investigation with respect to this matter.

I agree that jail time seems to be in order for at least two of the known conspirators - and by the testimony already given to the Ohio House committee, there does seem to have been a conspiracy, at least after-the-fact.


15 posted on 12/05/2008 2:22:28 PM PST by Big_Monkey
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To: Big_Monkey

Foodfight in the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ Office of Child Support. Go to it! Let it all hang out! I don’t expect the Justice Department or the FBI or the media to investigate this corruption any time soon.


16 posted on 12/05/2008 2:22:52 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: machogirl

Too bad she is having to use her vacation time for this.


17 posted on 12/05/2008 2:23:19 PM PST by CindyDawg (Lord, please bless America)
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To: Big_Monkey

Fire these ‘Rat scumbags and prosecute!!

OH, wait, they are Democrats, so the MSM will not press too far for prosecution and the OH Governor, prosecutors, etc. will ignore.....


18 posted on 12/05/2008 2:24:35 PM PST by Enchante (Countless Innocents in Mumbai, India Suffer the "Religion of Peace" in Action)
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To: Big_Monkey

So who passed his private info to the news media?


19 posted on 12/05/2008 2:24:37 PM PST by savedbygrace (SECURE THE BORDERS FIRST (I'M YELLING ON PURPOSE))
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To: Big_Monkey

These wannabe fascists need to have some PERSONAL consequences. Loss of job, loss of money, loss of freedom (jail time).


20 posted on 12/05/2008 2:25:15 PM PST by MrB (The 0bamanation: Marxism, Infanticide, Appeasement, Depression, Thuggery, and Censorship)
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To: savedbygrace

I remember reading that at least one person with the Toledo Police department has been investigated and possibly indicted for leaking information to a local NBC affiliate in Toledo.

Beyond that, I’m not aware of anyone else being named as a news source.


21 posted on 12/05/2008 2:26:52 PM PST by Big_Monkey
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To: Big_Monkey
DemoRat principles, Stalin would be proud.
22 posted on 12/05/2008 2:29:49 PM PST by Navy Patriot (John McCain, the Manchurian Candidate, makes a Marxist President.)
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To: Big_Monkey

She’ll be okay. The party will take care of her.


23 posted on 12/05/2008 2:32:51 PM PST by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: CindyDawg

I’ve seen this woman’s picture and I personally feel she’s in this up to her neck and making obvious claims to throw the blame off on someone else not of the same color (e.g., ‘bright red neck’), myself. Play the race card lady.


24 posted on 12/05/2008 2:38:50 PM PST by Gaffer
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To: Opinionated Blowhard
This should be a big story—a state agency engineers a political hit job on an average citizen who embarrassed a candidate and then tried to cover it up. That should by dynamite. But we all know this will end up going nowhere.

So why is it going nowhere? Isn't there anyone / group on the right that would force it to be news? You know the answer. That's why we lost the country.

25 posted on 12/05/2008 2:50:48 PM PST by Digger (If RINO is your selection, then failure is your election)
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To: Gaffer

I’m not a mind reader, but I believe you’re confusing Vanessa Niekamp with Ohio Family Services Director Helen Jones-Kelley.

Ms. Niekamp was just a civil servant, minding her own business, when she got caught up in this “scheme” by Jones-Kelley and her boss, Deputy Director Doug Thompson.


26 posted on 12/05/2008 3:04:57 PM PST by Big_Monkey
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To: WHBates

The other possibility is that they wanted her gone. So they had the inappropriate access done by her, with her user ID, so that they could follow the law and fire her for breaking the law. And it covers their butts, saying they fired the inappropriate data accessor.


27 posted on 12/05/2008 3:15:55 PM PST by tbw2 (Freeper sci-fi - "Sirat: Through the Fires of Hell" - on amazon.com)
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To: Big_Monkey
Not that the Feds spend a lot of time publicizing these things, but I’m very surprised I haven’t read anywhere about a Federal civil rights investigation with respect to this matter.

Well I hate to be negative but from my observations, good OL Joe is the wrong color and/or sex for there to be any meaningful federal investigation.

28 posted on 12/05/2008 3:17:20 PM PST by WHBates
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To: Gaffer

Vanessa Niekamp

I'm not sure why she would play the race card.

Can you elaborate?
29 posted on 12/05/2008 3:20:08 PM PST by HEY4QDEMS
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To: Big_Monkey
Hopefully, Joe the Plumber will soon be bringing a civil case in this matter. It's time to get these Ohio dems under oath and on the record.

BUMP that! Joe has every reason to sue their freaking eyeballs out, slam dunk.

30 posted on 12/05/2008 3:21:06 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: tbw2
Could be, but I would more believe that they intimidate employees as matter of course and thought they they would get away with it.
31 posted on 12/05/2008 3:21:45 PM PST by WHBates
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To: CindyDawg; machogirl

She’s also trying to save her own job ... the time is well spent, tho it should be allocated retroactively as ‘official business.’


32 posted on 12/05/2008 3:41:34 PM PST by EDINVA
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To: Big_Monkey

My bad you’re right


33 posted on 12/05/2008 4:55:39 PM PST by Gaffer
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To: Big_Monkey; ADemocratNoMore; Akron Al; arbee4bush; agrace; Badeye; Bikers4Bush; BlindedByTruth; ...

Ohio Ping!

To be added to the Ohio Ping List, please freepmail (works best)
both TonyRo76 and LasVegasDave.

34 posted on 12/06/2008 2:31:49 AM PST by Las Vegas Dave (Illegitimi non carborundum - "Don't let the bastards grind you down")
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To: machogirl

Yes, and she’s not out of it yet. She was lucky the IG, for whatever reason, wasn’t a tool of management because they usually are. I think the direction came from a much higher level and they were afraid not to investigate. I hope the woman gets to keep her job. As far as management is concerned...they should be on the street right now...and heavily fined for betraying the trust required in their type jobs.


35 posted on 12/06/2008 7:39:48 AM PST by pepperdog (The world has gone crazy.)
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To: Big_Monkey
A MONTH SUSPENSION?????? IF THIS WERE REPUBLICANS GOING AFTER A DEM THEY WOULD BE DEMANDING CRIMINAL CHARGES AND JAIL TIME!!!!!!!!!

THIS IS A CRIME~!! WHY ARE CHARGES *NOT* BEING FILED? WHO SAYS A MONTH SUSPENSION IS ADEQUATE?????

36 posted on 12/06/2008 11:59:09 AM PST by Mr. K (Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help)
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To: Big_Monkey

Most government agencies in Ohio are corrupt.


37 posted on 12/06/2008 12:04:47 PM PST by dragnet2
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To: Big_Monkey

Bravo for the Whistle blower!

Oh my gosh, I really am not looking forward to more of this Change. I’d rather have good, old fashioned freedom.


38 posted on 12/06/2008 12:06:55 PM PST by Yaelle
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To: ComputerGuy
Joe just might be able to buy that plumbing business after all.

Yep. And he might be able to win some "no show" state plumbing contracts, too :-)

39 posted on 12/06/2008 1:08:18 PM PST by monkeyshine
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To: HEY4QDEMS

Note the elephant brooch in the photo of Niekamp.


40 posted on 12/07/2008 1:59:19 PM PST by Melian
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To: Big_Monkey

I wonder how far up the chain of command the orders originated at?


41 posted on 12/07/2008 2:43:26 PM PST by Mojave (http://barackobamajokes.googlepages.com/obama_funny)
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To: Big_Monkey

Speak no evil, MSM....


42 posted on 12/07/2008 2:53:13 PM PST by Rick_Michael (Have no fear "Senator Government" is here)
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To: AdmSmith; Berosus; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Fred Nerks; george76; ...
Deputy Director Doug Thompson... told her she must write an e-mail to the agency's information-security officer, and then "dictated word for word" what she wrote, Niekamp said. He also reminded her that she could be fired at any time, she said.

43 posted on 12/07/2008 3:52:58 PM PST by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_______Profile finally updated Saturday, December 6, 2008 !!!)
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To: pepperdog

agree


44 posted on 12/07/2008 4:09:32 PM PST by machogirl (taglines are like shoes: if you're a gal, you can never have too many)
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To: CindyDawg

what a vacation............ she’s got gonads


45 posted on 12/07/2008 4:10:12 PM PST by machogirl (taglines are like shoes: if you're a gal, you can never have too many)
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To: EDINVA

i assume that she was covering all the bases just in case they tried to fire her for wrongfully using work time.


46 posted on 12/07/2008 4:11:12 PM PST by machogirl (taglines are like shoes: if you're a gal, you can never have too many)
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To: Big_Monkey

and the RATS, take another one in the.................................HA ha!!!

47 posted on 12/07/2008 4:53:39 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist -)
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To: Big_Monkey
"Both Doug and Carri can access the (child-support) system and could have accessed a file without my involvement," Niekamp said. "To this day, I do not understand why they asked me to look at this information when they could have easily done this themselves."

They needed a scapegoat, lady. Tag, you're it!

48 posted on 12/07/2008 5:20:42 PM PST by pray4liberty (Always vote for life!)
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To: Melian
Note the elephant brooch in the photo of Niekamp.

It's quite possible Thompson and Ms. Black Hyphenated were visiting this crapola on the office right-leaner as part of an on-going purge while keeping the front-end hiring statistics look plausible.

HF

49 posted on 12/07/2008 5:43:36 PM PST by holden
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To: ComputerGuy
Joe just might be able to buy that plumbing business after all.

SOMEone is going to get a real BIG Roto-Rooter® bill!

50 posted on 12/07/2008 6:03:43 PM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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