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Report: Records Search on Joe the Plumber Improper

20 Nov

You betcha! The report is in and it says the search of ‘Joe the Plumber’ was unfair, wrong, evil and bad! OK, it doesn’t exactly put it in those words, but it does say there is ‘no legitimate’ purpose for it to have happened.

Agency director Helen Jones-Kelley should be fired for violating a private citizen’s privacy. Sadly, Governor Ted Strickland does not agree. He has only suspended her for a month without pay. He rejected a request to fire her. Shame on Gov. Strickland for not firing her for abusing her position and misusing official state records.

The findings have been forwarded to the Franklin County prosecutor’s office in Columbus. Perhaps justice might come through the court system rather then from the Gov. firing Jones-Kelley.

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Agency Director Helen Jones-Kelley

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — An agency director improperly used state computers to find personal information on “Joe the Plumber,” a government watchdog said in a report released Thursday. There was no legitimate business purpose for the head of Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services to order staff to look up the records, Inspector General Tom Charles said.

Investigators weren’t able to determine whether the searches were politically motivated, the report said.

“All these searches were done in the midst of a national political campaign,” the report said. “But we did not find any evidence that shows the data was accessed or information released in response to media requests in an effort to support any political activity or agenda.”

The agency director, Helen Jones-Kelley, was placed on leave this month over separate allegations that a state computer or state e-mail account was used to assist in political fundraising for Democrat Barack Obama’s campaign.

The inspector general’s report concluded that she improperly used state e-mail to engage in political activity.

The report looked into 18 background checks into Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, a Toledo-area man known as Joe the Plumber. He became a household name in the final weeks of the presidential campaign after asking Obama about his tax plan at a campaign stop near Toledo.

Eight of the checks were done without any legitimate business purpose, the report said. Charles recommended tighter policies on access to confidential information in state computer databases.

The findings have been forwarded to the Franklin County prosecutor’s office in Columbus.

There was no home telephone listing for Jones-Kelley in Columbus.

Jones-Kelley has said the search of Wurzelbacher’s records were part of routine checks her agency conducts when someone suddenly emerges in the limelight.

She told state Senate President Bill Harris in a letter that records were checked because Wurzelbacher had indicated he might buy a business and it was determined that he owed back taxes. The department wanted to make sure appropriate actions were taken if he owed child support, received public assistance or owed unemployment compensation taxes, she wrote.

Jones-Kelley’s reasoning was at times contradictory, inconsistent and ambiguous, the inspector general’s report said.

It also found no policies or procedures to support her claim that it was the agency’s practice to look into someone thrust in the spotlight.

As Wurzelbacher’s profile was elevated in Republican John McCain’s campaign, criticism over the Ohio search rose to a fever pitch.

Republicans were furious that Wurzelbacher was targeted, saying that he was simply a private citizen who stood up and questioned the Democratic presidential candidate.

Wurzelbacher did not answer his phone Thursday, and his voicemail box was full.

source

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Obama’s Clintonian Circle

20 Nov

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The abundance of Clinton veterans recruited by Obama for his new administration may not be the change his voters had in mind.

From Yahoo:

If Hillary Clinton is offered the Cabinet post, she’ll be one of many reported Clinton administration retreads working in or with the Obama administration.  Eric Holder, a deputy at the Department of Justice during the Clinton administration, was reportedly offered the job of attorney general.  Before Rahm Emanuel was a congressman, he was a senior advisorin the Clinton White House. He’s now Obama’s chief of staffJohn Podesta, heading up the Obama transition, is Clinton’s former chief of staff.

Obama has said he may be looking to create a “team of rivals.”  But this stack-up of Clinton veterans in the Obama administration has already caused buzz that this may not be what some people were looking for when they voted for change. Buried in that Rasmussen poll was this nugget: “Despite the support for Clinton to be secretary of state, 70% of voters think Obama should reach out and appoint new people for his Cabinet rather than including more people who served in the Clinton administration.”

One big-name non-Clinton now associated with the Obama administration surfaced in news reports today.  Tom Daschle, the former Senate Majority Leader, has accepted a cabinet post at Health and Human Services.

During the primary campaign, Hillary had this response to the grumbling about another possible Clintonian Era: “Well, you know, sometimes during this campaign, I hear people criticize the 1990’s and that’s fair, you know, it’s a campaign and people can criticize each other, but I’m always wondering when I hear that criticism, well, what part of the 1990’s didn’t they like? The peace or the prosperity? Because I thought we were on the right track.”

Obama must think so too since his super-team is comprised primarily of former Clinton people.

Obama might want to rethink the ‘Team of Rivals’ idea after he reads this article in the NY Times about how it worked out for Lincoln:

The rest of the “team of rivals” spent the war years scheming and squabbling among themselves. The cabinet never really functioned as a cohesive group.

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There is little doubt that Abraham Lincoln was a great president. But not much of what made him great can be discerned in his appointment of a contentious, envious and often dysfunctional collection of prima donnas to his cabinet.