Friday, November 07, 2008

UPDATED: Ohio Governor suspends director over political fundraising via state computer

Governor Ted Strickland announced tonight that he has suspended Helen Jones-Kelly, the director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services over allegations of inappropriate use of state computers.

Jones-Kelly was placed on paid administrative leave pending an Inspector General review of alleged use of a state computer for political fund-raising.

This is the same director who authorized the search for any child support records relating to Sam "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher. Gov. Strickland defended that action at the time, saying it wasn't politically motivated.

The announcement was made after close of business on Friday.

According to emails provided as part of a public records request by the Columbus Dispatch, Jones-Kelly provided the Obama campaign with the names of 17 potential Dayton-area contributors ahead of the candidate's July 11 appearance there via her state email address.

"The e-mails about the Dayton event show Jones-Kelley corresponded with Michael O'Neil, who is listed as an Obama fundraiser. O'Neil did not answer a telephone number he listed in his e-mails. Jones-Kelley could not be located for comment. Obama's Ohio campaign spokesman did not return calls.
Other e-mails showed Jones-Kelley receiving information of a partisan political nature through her state e-mail account. One e-mail included an attached donation form for the Obama campaign.

Strickland administration polices forbid the use of state time, equipment and property for election-related purposes. Jones-Kelley sent a memo to all of her employees on Oct. 21 reminding them of the prohibition."


Roman said...

How can this be? There was no political motivation involved in "Joe the Plumber" records check. Why is this not believable? To paraphrase a local morning radio host: "these are not the droids you're looking for"
I wonder where the ACLU and the privacy folks are? There seems to be more questions than answers...

Mad Jack said...

The thing here is that the damage is already done. I'm sure that there are more than a few democrats who were ready to 'fall on their sword' in order to help their noble cause.

The Squeaky Wheel said...

So... If there was no political motivation in the search, as Strickland said, are we to assume this is not a punitive suspension?

They are trying to get this out of sight, out of mind long enough for everyone to forget.

Tim Higgins said...

We must all wait now for how long this investigation will take (in spite of the facts being pretty much self-evident) and what spin will be performed as punishment is meted out. I will likewise be curious to see the coverage that the results of the two investigations into Ms. Jones-Kelly gets. Is B-6 too close to the front page? :-)

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