How did people get dirt on Joe the Plumber?
posted at 10:44 am on October 25, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
How did so much information about Joe Wurzelbacher’s taxes and licensing get out to the public so quickly? Officials in Ohio want to know the answer. They apparently suspect that state and local government systems got exploited in order to attack Joe the Plumber:
State and local officials are investigating if state and law-enforcement computer systems were illegally accessed when they were tapped for personal information about “Joe the Plumber.”
Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher became part of the national political lexicon Oct. 15 when Republican presidential candidate John McCain mentioned him frequently during his final debate with Democrat Barack Obama. …
Public records requested by The Dispatch disclose that information on Wurzelbacher’s driver’s license or his sport-utility vehicle was pulled from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles database three times shortly after the debate.
Information on Wurzelbacher was accessed by accounts assigned to the office of Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Toledo Police Department.
It has not been determined who checked on Wurzelbacher, or why. Direct access to driver’s license and vehicle registration information from BMV computers is restricted to legitimate law enforcement and government business.
The accounts used to access the information at the BMV and tax records all came from government agencies. This information is only supposed to be accessed for legitimate investigations, not just for curiosity, and certainly not for political purposes. Who in these government offices would have wanted to investigate Wurzelbacher, and for what legitimate reason — within hours of a presidential debate in which he played a significant part?
Answer: no legitimate reason exists. This explains why so much dirt got thrown at Wurzelbacher so quickly. At least one person, and almost certainly more than one person, decided to rifle through government records to discredit Wurzelbacher. That explains how they knew about his brief association years ago with the Natural Law Party; someone must have gone through the voter-registration records.
Thanks to the Tanning Bed Media, the effort to smear Wurzelbacher worked. No one questioned how this information got out, or who might have been behind its publication. The media, which still hasn’t bothered to report on Barack Obama’s association with the quasi-socialist New Party in Chicago, happily printed all the dirt they could find on Wurzelbacher instead.
Thirty-five years ago, a group of Plumbers did the same kind of thing in a presidential election, and it changed American politics forever. This smells of the same kind of Nixonian tactics.