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OCA Press Release of the improper investigation by State agencies on Joseph Wurzelbacher

Tue, Dec 2nd, 2008 5:50:55 pm
Chris Long


The Ohio Christian Alliance (OCA) today is calling upon the Ohio Legislature and Governor Strickland to address and truly hold accountable those responsible for the improper investigation of Mr. Joseph Wurzelbacher, known as Joe the Plumber, the highly publicized case in which he asked Presidential Candidate Barack Obama a question concerning taxation on his small business. What took place in the aftermath of "Joe the Plumber" is of great concern to this organization and its membership.

OCA is a voter education organization, committed to providing nonpartisan educational voter guides, scorecards, and candidate forums, and encouraging voter registration and participation in the electoral process.Chris Long, OCA President, said "This issue is not a partisan battle. It is, however, a direct threat to individual freedoms of every American to participate, engage, and question candidates and office holders on a variety of subjects. The issue simply stated is, ‘Does the state government have the right to investigate private citizens simply because they ask questions of candidates and/or office holders?"

"When it came to light that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and the Ohio Department of Taxation all initiated investigations on Mr. Joseph Wurzelbacher for no apparent reason other than that the partisans within those agencies were seeking to discredit this private citizen, it was obvious that this was an abuse of power and an overreach by state governmental authorities. This is simply an outrage."

"According to the Inspector General's report, these investigations had no legitimate state government purpose. The directors involved in the unwarranted investigation violated the public's trust, and consequently should be terminated from their respective positions at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to begin to restore the public's confidence once again in these State agencies. The public's confidence in these agencies has been sorely damaged from the revelations of these improper investigations."

"Governor Strickland, to date, has been slow to move on this matter. His actions initially were simply to place the director of Job and Family Services, Helen Jones-Kelley on paid administrative leave. Only after the release of the Inspector General's report of November 20th did the Governor see fit to place her on unpaid administrative suspension for one month. By his actions, Governor Strickland is obviously not taking this matter seriously enough."

"If Governor Strickland wishes to truly address the seriousness of this issue, he needs to take the purposed steps of terminating the employment of those directors responsible for this misuse of their positions of authority to access confidential databases for no legitimate state government purpose."

"We will not let Mr. Wurzelbacher stand alone. This concerns each and every one of us.

If this goes unchecked, it will have a chilling effect in future elections and on possible advocacy work of private citizens who will worry whether their letter, phone call or questions of any political candidate or office holder will prompt an investigation by state agencies. All Ohioans should have the freedom to openly participate in their government without fearing reprisal from some government agency."

Contact Chris Long at 330-887-1922




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