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Published: Thursday, 12/4/2008

Illinois state workers in trouble for looking up Obama info


CHICAGO Nine Illinois Secretary of State employees face suspension without pay because they looked up President-elect Barack Obama s street address in state records, officials said Thursday.

It s a violation of our policy to be looking up records inappropriately, said Dave Druker, a spokesman for Secretary of State Jesse White.

Curiosity motivated the employees to look up Mr. Obama s South Side address, Mr. Druker said. The Secret Service was involved in the investigation, he said. The employees names were not released.

The employees can appeal the disciplinary action, which is a minimum three-day suspension without pay, Mr. Druker said.

An Obama spokesman did not immediately return an e-mail message from the Associated Press on Thursday after business hours, and no one answered the telephone at his transition press office.

Mr. Obama s South Side neighborhood has been a popular stop for curious tourists and locals alike, although tight security and closed streets make it impossible to get close to the mansion.

Last month, Verizon Wireless fired an unspecified number of employees it said had accessed Mr. Obama s old cell phone records without permission.

Verizon Wireless voluntarily disclosed the privacy breach and apologized to Mr. Obama. No voice mails or e-mails were accessed, his aides said.

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