I’d be burning the phone lines right now if I were an Ohio taxpayer:
Ohio taxpayers are right in the middle of the civil rights lawsuit that Samuel Joseph — “Joe the Plumber” — Wurzelbacher has filed against three former state employees, charging that they illegally accessed his confidential information through state databases.
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray’s office is defending former state employees Helen Jones-Kelley, Douglas Thompson and Fred Williams. All have denied wrongdoing and asked that the case, filed last March in U.S. District Court in Columbus, be dismissed.
Jones-Kelley was director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Williams was the department’s assistant director and Thompson the deputy director of child support when the “Joe the Plumber” controversy erupted during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Jones-Kelley and Thompson are from the Dayton area.
Jones-Kelley and Williams resigned and Thompson had his job “revoked” in the wake of a report from Inspector General Tom Charles that found confidential state databases with personal information on Wurzelbacher were improperly accessed.
Democrat Cordary says he’s just doing what the law tells him. But there are exceptions in the law to allow the AG discretion NOT to use taxpayers’ money to defend indefensible government employees who act “manifestly outside the scope of his official employment or official responsibilities, with malicious purpose, in bad faith or in a wanton or reckless manner.”
Which precisely described the partisan witch hunt against Wurzelbacher by the Ohio government snoops.
Ohio Republicans have it exactly right:
The two Republicans seeking their party’s nomination to run against Cordray next year disagreed.
“These people violated the privacy of an Ohio citizen and they did it, it would appear, to advance a partisan political campaign, and I think taxpayers will be shocked to find that their tax dollars are going to defend them,” said Mike DeWine of Cedarville, the former U.S. senator and Greene County prosecutor.
Added Delaware County Prosecutor David Yost: “It’s an outrageous use of taxpayer money to defend the invasion of a citizen’s privacy.”
Hat tip: Jesse Hathaway, who has more here.