On Sunday, Oct. 12, Joe Wurzelbacher was playing football in his front yard with his son Joey when Barack Obama made an unscheduled stop to ask voters for their support in his neighborhood. Wurzelbacher took the opportunity to be a good citizen, and questioned the candidate about his tax policies. Three nights later during a presidential debate, John McCain echoed Joe’s concern about Obama’s “spread the wealth” comment and mentioned Wurzelbacher (dubbed “Joe the Plumber”) by name. The blow back was swift and furious. MSNBC, Washington Post and New York Times quickly had detailed stories about Joe’s personal life, including a current tax problem, issues with his occupational licensing, and his divorce.

How did these news organizations get such detailed news about one man in Ohio so quickly? The Columbus Dispatch reports: “State and local officials are investigating if state and law-enforcement computer systems were illegally accessed when they were tapped for personal information about Joe the Plumber.” Despite the fact Wurzelbacher had no child-support cases pending with Cuyahoga County, the county’s Child Support Enforcement Agency accessed information on him from the state’s database. And although there are no known police investigations of Wurzelbacher, the Toledo Police Department also pulled information on him. These requests, which would be illegal if they were not part of official state business, came within 48 hours of the presidential debate.

Some have accused the Obama campaign of orchestrating the invasion of Joe’s records. The Obama campaign is way too smart to try something like that — especially since a compliant media and sympathetic public-sector unions can be counted on to do the snooping and character assassination. Media bias in favor of Obama is well established. Former Democrat Sen. Bob Kerrey told Portfolio: “There’s a liberal bias. There’s a preference for Obama.” The American people know it as well. According to Rasmussen Reports, by a nearly 5-to-1 margin voters believe the media are trying to help Obama win.

But the press is just one conspirator in this story. Public-sector employees must also be willing to violate the law to help their preferred candidate. Most Americans are just waking up to this very scary fact: much of their personal data are now entrusted to state and local employees who are increasingly unionized with a liberal worldview. Public-sector unions have become the heart and soul of the labor movement. While overall union membership in America has fallen from 21.4% to 12.5%, public-sector union membership has exploded to 34%.

And guess what? These unions not only give heavily to Democrats, but they also actively campaign for them. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is made up of 3,500 local unions representing 1.4 million members. In 2008 its members gave 99% of all union political money to Democrats. And here is what AFSCME President Gerald McEntee said when his union endorsed Obama: “AFSCME will mobilize more members and invest more resources than ever before to help Senator Obama win the White House. We will turn out an army of 40,000 AFSCME activists to knock on doors, make phone calls and talk with their co-workers and neighbors to produce an unprecedented turnout in the 2008 election.”

How many of those phone calls go to sympathetic members of the press after illegal snooping into a citizen’s files?

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