This week, a Mother Jones editor named Adam Weinstein got into a Twitter tête à tête with an Indiana lawyer who called on riot police in Madison to use "live ammunition" to clear protesters out of the state Capitol.
It turned out that lawyer, Jeff Cox, is a deputy attorney general in the state. And — perhaps unsurprisingly — he's left a long online trail of controversial statements and diktats.
"[A]gainst thugs physically threatening legally-elected state legislators & governor?" he tweeted back at Weinstein. "You're damn right I advocate deadly force."
Six days ago he opined, "Planned Parenthood could help themselves if the only abortions they performed were retroactive."
And on his personal blog, Pro Cynic (now deleted), he compared former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich to a Nazi, and concluded that George W. Bush's words to the Iraqi people — "Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country" — are appropriate for citizens of America under Barack Obama, among other inflammatory statements.
Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the Attorney General's office told Mother Jones "We do not condone any comments that would threaten or imply violence or intimidation toward anyone." Corbin did not respond to an inquiry Wednesday morning. I subsequently tried to reach Cox directly but was redirected back to Corbin's office
It's worth noting that there are over 140 deputy attorneys general in Indiana. It's a career job, not a political appointment. And Cox last tweeted just after midnight on Monday, more than 48 hours ago.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels did away with public sector unions in his state in 2006.
Update: Corbin sent over the following statement in response to our requests:
An immediate review of this personnel matter is now under way to determine whether the assertions made in the "Mother Jones" article about an employee are accurate. When that review is complete, appropriate personnel action will be taken.
The Indiana Attorney General's Office does not condone the inflammatory statements asserted in the "Mother Jones" article and we do not condone any comments that would threaten or imply violence or intimidation toward anyone. Civility and courtesy toward all constituents is very important to this agency. We take this matter very seriously.
The subjects of the offensive postings are not related in any way to this employee's job duties. The reporter who wrote the "Mother Jones" article informs us that the offensive postings over the weekend were made using a personal Twitter account and personal email, not a state government email account.
As public servants, state employees should strive to conduct themselves with professionalism and appropriate decorum in their interactions with the public. This is a serious matter that is being addressed.
Yes, Mr. Jeffrey Cox is a deputy attorney general hired during the previous administration of the former Attorney General. Mr. Cox continued on in the same position when the current administration took office. He was hired on qualifications, it is not a political appointment. He is one of 144 attorneys who work for this agency and he does not have any supervisory or managerial role. He does not work at the Indiana Statehouse.
[Update from Gawker: The Indiana AG's office has released another statement saying Cox is "no longer employed by this agency."]
Republished with permission from TalkingPointsMemo.com. Authored by Brian Beutler. Photo via AP. TPM provides breaking news, investigative reporting and smart analysis of politics.