Friday, December 08, 2006

Did Doug Doerting Improperly Obtain Evidence Used To Start Merit Hiring Probe?

Does anyone remember how the merit system investigation got started?

Former Transportation Cabinet employee Doug Doerting turned over a bunch of e-mail messages to the attorney general's office, claiming that those messages were evidence of rampant violations of Kentucky's civil service laws prohibiting personnel decisions from being based on political reasons. This came after Doerting had shopped his "evidence" around to a number of other investigative offices and agencies, including Auditor Crit Luallen's office. No one was interested in what Doerting had until he went to Stumbo. Those allegations found a receptive home in the office of a partisan hack, with a chief prosecutor who had himself been a supporter of and contributor to Ben Chandler in his run against Ernie Fletcher.

But how, exactly, did Doerting come to be in possession of that "evidence?" Did he do so legitimately? Or perhaps illegally?

It's widely known that one of Doerting's duties at Transportation was looking into improper use of state computers. In other words, he was the "porn police." Since Transportation had been rocked by accusations during the Patton administration that employees were surfing porn sites on state time and saving the images on their computers, state government instituted a crackdown before Patton's term ended.

Sources have indicated that Doerting was one of the most unpopular people in the Transportation Cabinet. His heavy-handed approach to enforcement made him few friends. But no one is friendless. Everyone has a few pals, and we figure Doerting was no exception.

Even if a state employee has access to certain records, laws and policies regulate and limit that access. Revenue employees, for example, are not allowed to view tax documents except for official business reasons. That prevents, for example, an examiner or auditor or file clerk from pulling up Tubby Smith's income tax return to see how much the UK coach is paid (or overpaid, as some like to claim.)

We are wondering how, exactly, Doerting came up with the e-mails he turned over to Stumbo.

Was he a part of the e-mail chain and thus a legitimate recipient of the messages, and free to do whatever he wanted with them?

Was he not an original recipient, but instead obtained them as part of his official duties and then used them in an unauthorized and prohibited manner by passing them along to Stumbo?

Or did he obtain them improperly or illegally through his powers of computer access? If so, did he do this of his own volition or was he tipped off or otherwise encouraged to do so? Did one of his friends -- the few friends alluded to earlier -- ask him to do it?

These are still more questions about the investigation that the mainstream media never bothered to ask. This information would certainly have a bearing on the legitimacy of the entire investigation that followed.

Even if the media had asked, Doerting wouldn't have been the person to whom the question should be posed. He has already shown an uncanny ability to lie. Remember that when he was commenting for the fawning puff pieces the newspapers wrote about him early on, he stated that he did not get involved in politics, yet he later became active in a Franklin County judicial race.

In its zeal to bring down the first Republican governor in a generation, the press has played right along with the persecution and the governor's enemies. Never has scrutiny been placed on the investigators or the way the investigation was conducted.

We're pleased to hold everyone involved -- Doerting, Stumbo, the persecution team and the grand jury -- accountable and to demand answers. They probably will not be forthcoming, but at least we can put the questions out there in the public to help cast doubt on the procedure and the results. Because there's too much that needs to be questioned, and the institutions with the means to ask questions and get answers have abdicated their responsibility in the name of a politically motivated crusade.


At 8:33 AM, December 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great peice - good questions that should all be answered!

At 9:38 AM, December 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little too late.

It is time to stop making excuses for our inept Governor Fletcher and concentrate on electing Harper.


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