Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner admitted yesterday that a member of the media made the request of the Toledo Police Department for Joe 'the Plumber' Wurzelbacher's records, NewsTalk 1370 WSPD is reporting. The comments were made in response to questions during an unrelated press conference.
Finkbeiner did not say which news outlet, nor which reporter, made the request. He also did not identify the individual who ran the report.
As I've explained, accessing the LEADS computer data is a serious violation that can result in internal discipline, criminal charges and even loss of access for the law enforcement agency. Having overseen access to LEADS as the Clerk of Toledo Municipal Court, I know for a fact that Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre knows who ran the report, when and where.
The sad part about this incident is that records from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and all court records are public and can be obtained through regular public records requests, so there was no need to ask someone in the Police Department to violate rules and state law in order to get the information. The only advantage to having the LEADS report over the public records would be the speed with which it could be obtained.
But this certainly raises questions about how often this same media outlet or reporter has made similar requests in the past - and how they've used the data they obtained.
In related news: The director of the Ohio Department of Jobs & Family Services Director Helen Jones-Kelly, told the Columbus Dispatch that she approved a check on Wurzelbacher just after the Oct. 15 presidential debate to see whether he was current on child support payments.
She says there were no political reasons behind the decision, stating that the department often runs such checks on people - like when they win the lottery. That's a completely different matter, in which winnings can be taken to pay any back chid support that might be owed. A mention during a political debate should NOT result in a query, especially because at the time of the mention, there was nothing to indicate Joe was even married, or divorced, or had kids or even owed child support.
As for the approval not being political? According to OpenSecrets.org, Helen Jones-Kelley made the maximum donation of $2,300 to the Barack Obama presidential campaign on July 31, 2008.
H/T Riehl World