Vanessa Niekamp is the Ohio state employee who first stepped forward to call out the Joe the Plumber snoopers on their official lies. You’ll remember in late October that she publicly contradicted her superior, who falsely claimed that searches on private citizens’ records were routine if those citizens somehow came to public light.
Niekamp debunked the b.s. and now she’s revealing more about the snoopers’ attempts to cover their tracks:
The state worker who unwittingly ran an improper child-support check on the man known as Joe the Plumber told lawmakers today 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.
…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.
…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.”