Gov’t snooping on ‘Joe the Plumber’ deemed improper

Posted: November 22nd, 2008 by Militant Libertarian

Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell says he’s “delighted” with the conclusion of Ohio’s government watchdog that an agency director improperly used government computers to find personal information on the man who became known as “Joe the Plumber” during the presidential campaign.

Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles has issued a report that says Barack Obama donor Helen Jones-Kelley, the head of Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services, looked up Samuel Wurzelbacher’s records without any legitimate business purposes. Charles looked into 18 background checks on the Toledo-area man and found that eight of them had no legitimate business purpose. (See earlier story)

Blackwell, now senior fellow for family empowerment at the Family Research Council in Washington, DC, says Jones-Kelley used the powers of government to try to “intimidate and squash free speech.”

Ken Blackwell”I think it’s important that now there’s this follow-up,” says the state’s former secretary of state. “You can’t turn a blind eye to this improper behavior or you can’t try to paper over it, or you can’t let it go without consequence — because if you reward bad behavior or you turn a blind eye to bad behavior, all you’re going to get is more bad behavior.”

Jones-Kelley was placed on leave earlier this month over separate allegations that a state computer or state e-mail account was used to assist in political fundraising. Blackwell says Jones-Kelley has shown a “disturbing pattern” of conduct.

“I am really concerned that the powers that be, the higher-ups in the present [Gov. Ted] Strickland administration, don’t seem to be willing to really give a proper punishment or a response to this inappropriate behavior,” he laments.

Although Blackwell would not say Jones-Kelley should be fired, he said her actions are evidence of “government gone crazy.”

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