COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Ohio officials say they are probing the use of official computer systems in a search for data about "Joe the Plumber," a figure in the presidential campaign.
The investigation is focusing on whether state and law-enforcement computer systems were illegally accessed, The Columbus (Ohio) dispatch reported Friday.
"Joe the Plumber," whose real name is Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, came to national attention when he approached Democratic nominee Barack Obama during a campaign stop in Ohio and then Republican nominee John McCain cited him during an Oct. 15 debate with Obama as an example of a taxpayer who would lose money under Obama's tax proposals.
Public records obtained by the Dispatch indicate information about Wurzelbacher's was pulled from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles database three times after the debate. The information was accessed using accounts assigned to the office of Ohio Attorney General Nancy Rogers, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Toledo Police Department, the newspaper said.
A spokesman for the McCain campaign accused "Obama's allies" of abusing government power "in an attempt to smear a private citizen."
An Obama spokesman called the charge desperate and said if Wurzelbacher's record were improperly accessed "it had nothing to do with our campaign and should be investigated fully."