Joe the Plumber may sue Ohio officials for breach of privacy in records search

Allahpundit Posted at 7:08 pm on October 28, 2008

Via Ace, note the plural in the headline. People don’t realize, I think, that we’re talking about three separate searches by three different state agencies: Toledo P.D., Cuyahoga County DSS, and an outside contractor with access to the Attorney General’s test account. This isn’t a case of some halfwit clerk somewhere calling up his records on a lark, in other words. It’s a triple play.

But DSS, which came from the top on orders from an Obama donor, is of course the big one.

“When I first found out, I was pretty angry and I still am,” Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher said today in Columbus during his first campaign appearance on behalf of Republican presidential nominee John McCain…

“It bothers me greatly,” Wurzelbacher said as he joined former Republican Congressman Rob Portman and small-business owners on a bus tour to back McCain and attack Obama’s tax policies…

[DSS] Director Helen Jones-Kelley said that after a “team meeting,” she OK’d the check because the department often runs inquiries to check for unpaid child support when people are thrust into “the public spotlight.”…

Calling her reason for checking on Wurzelbacher meritless, State Rep. William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, today called on Strickland to place Jones-Kelley on leave until the investigation is complete.

“No Ohioan should be subject to a ‘witch hunt’ on the whim of a public official,” said Batchelder . He said that by Jones-Kelley’s standard, “the mere appearance of one’s name in the newspaper would warrant ‘taking a look.'”

The PD employee’s already been charged with gross misconduct; according to the Dispatch story, she was doing a favor for a reporter who wanted Wurzelbacher’s address.

What conceivable reason could he have for not suing? He’s appropriately “bothered” by the intrusion. His privacy’s already shot to hell so he has nothing to lose from extra media coverage. The legal fees won’t cost a dime: Surely the RNC would pay for a lawyer or 20 to staff the case, which will be worth the expense in PR value even if he doesn’t win. And if he does win, so much the better. Thanks to the press digging up the fact that he doesn’t have a plumber’s license, his career’s in limbo at the moment. Push forward, get a settlement, and enjoy a few years of financial security courtesy of the state of Ohio. What am I missing here?





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