Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dirty Politics in the Buckeye State?

Editor's note: Although this site is primarily geared towards California news, we from time to time step outside the state and see what is going on around the nation and the rest of the world.

It appears Joe the Plumber has caught the interest of more than just the McCain and Obama campaigns.

Reports show that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services ran several background checks on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (Joe the Plumber). The director of the agency, Helen Jones-Kelley (pictured), swears that the background checks were necessary and were not politically motivated.

The agency ran background checks on Wurzelbacher for child support, to see if he was receiving welfare assistance or owed unemployment compensation taxes.

Jones-Kelley made the revelations in a letter to Ohio Senate President Bill Harris, R-Ashland, who requested answers on why state officials checked out Wurzelbacher.

According to Jones-Kelley, the background checks were run after the news media reported that Wurzelbacher, who is supporting John McCain, was considering buying a plumbing business with more than $250,000 in annual income.

"Given our understanding that Mr. Wurzelbacher had publicly indicated that he had the means to purchase a substantial business enterprise, ODJFS, consistent with past departmental practice, checked confidential databases ," she wrote.

"Not surprisingly, when a person behind in child support payments or receiving public assistance is receiving significant media attention which suggests that the person appears to have available financial resources, the Department risks justifiable criticism if it fails to take note and respond," Jones-Kelley added.

Wurzelbacher gained fame recently when he tossed a question at Obama during a campaign stop in Toledo.

Wurzelbacher told Obama that he was interested in buying a plumbing business, but was worried about Obama's plan to tax those making over $250,000 a year (a figure which has changed several times between Obama and vice presidential nominee Joe Biden). It was at that time that Obama made his infamous comment about "spreading the wealth" around, a comment that has riled many who view that as socialism.

By the way, Jones-Kelley for her part has donated the maximum $2,500 this year to the Obama campaign.

We cannot help but wonder if Jones-Kelley would have been as aggressive with a resident who was voting for Obama.... Our guess is no.

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