Murphy Painter report released - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Murphy Painter report released

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Office of State Inspector General released a report Thursday into its findings after an investigation into Murphy Painter. Painter is alleged to have used his position to perform illegal background checks and other illegal acts.

Painter is the former head of Louisiana's State Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC).

The report alleges Painter performed "more than 1,500 inquiries to obtain restricted information about citizens who do not hold ATC permits and do not appear in the ATC database."

Among the people he allegedly performed illegal checks on are Baton Rouge attorney Jill Craft, WAFB reporter Keitha Nelson, Wendy Vitter (the wife of U.S. Senator David Vitter) and former LSU quarterback Tommy Hodson.

The full list of names was not released in the Inspector General's report.

The report also details allegations that he sexually harassed Kelli Suire, a former employee who worked for him at ATC.

In his response, Painter says the allegations that he violated state and federal law "are false and misguided."  Painter says it is apparent the Inspector General's Office is "attempting to create a crime where no crime ever existed."

The Inspector General's office says it received credible information that Murphy Painter illegally accessed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal records, State of Louisiana criminal records and Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles records for no known public purpose. 

"Mr. Painter illegally accessed information about private citizens as well as persons employed at all levels of state government and, in some cases, their family members," the report says. "Mr. Painter conducted inquiries on a state representative, state district judges, staff members of the Louisiana Legislature and Governor's Office, and the wife of a United States Senator. The investigation determined that most of the citizens about whom Mr. Painter obtained personal information were females. It was also found that even though Mr. Painter's office has statewide jurisdiction, his searches were disproportionately concentrated in the greater Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Gonzales areas."

"The investigation determined that Mr. Painter's abuse of LLETS via the Voyager system spanned the period of February 25, 2005 through August 13, 2010 and includes more than 1,150 inquiries to obtain restricted information about citizens who do not hold ATC vendor permits and do not appear in the ATC database," the report says.

"Mr. Painter performed 314 full NCIC searches, with 146 of those searches done to access information about individuals to whom ATC has not issued permits and who are not regulated by ATC," the report says.

"Mr. Painter continued this activity even though the Louisiana State Police twice admonished ATC for the improper use of the system after audits, most recently in 2008," according to the report.   "Mr. Painter formally responded to both audits with plans to correct the problems but remained defiant, telling his staff, "F**k the State Police.  We have not been audited for eight years. I'll be gone from here [ATC] before they [State Police] ever come back again," the report alleges Painter to have said.

Click here for a pdf file of the full report.


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