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Special Report

Grapevine: Senior government official caught abusing resources

And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine…

No Work All Play

On this Labor Day, too little labor and way too many perks for a Commerce Department employee.

A 42-page report from the inspector general alleges a senior official had seven -- yes, seven -- government-issued computer resources at the employee's private residence. Two desktops, three laptops and at least two iPads.

Members of the official's household were given access to the devices, which resulted in inappropriate use, including the viewing of pornographic and racially offensive materials.

The IG also found attendance fraud with the employee on at least one occasion claiming a full eight-hour day while working as little as 20 minutes.

The watchdog recommended, "The department should consider taking appropriate administrative action with respect to the senior official in light of the conduct discussed in this report."

Civics 101

A parody Twitter account may be offensive, but it is not illegal.

City officials in Peoria, Illinois, are learning that lesson the hard way to the tune of a $125,000 settlement.

Jon Daniel created a parody account of the city's mayor, making him appear less than professional. Daniel's home was raided and he was arrested because of it, though no charges were filed.

Free speech advocates jumped to Daniel's defense and the city settled out of court. The winning attorneys called the deal a civics lesson for governments.

Bumper Sticker

"In God We Trust" is on our money, but some say it should not be on police cars.

Departments around the country are putting the motto on their cruisers like in Lee County, Virginia. The sheriff calls it a symbol of moral values as well as patriotism.

A police chief in Texas cites the recent attacks on law enforcement personnel as the reason for the decals in his community.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent dozens of complaints, claiming the stickers are an illegal government endorsement of religion. The group is threatening to sue although admits it is tough to find a plaintiff willing to publicly challenge the use of the phrase.