The Ohio inspector general has finally concludes the obvious. The question now is: Whose heads will roll? Who will be prosecuted? When will the governor apologize for whitewashing this civil liberties scandal?
A state agency director had no legitimate reasons to check state computer systems for confidential information on “Joe the Plumber,” according to a report released this afternoon by Ohio’s inspector general.
Helen Jones-Kelley, the suspended director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, “had no legitimate agency function or purpose to support her decision” to check on the newly minted political figure, the report states.
The investigation by the office of Inspector General Thomas P. Charles found that the reasons that Jones-Kelley offered for the checks “were not credible and they included contradictions, ambiguity, and inconsistencies.”
The report reached no conclusion on whether Jones-Kelley’s approval of the checks were politically motivated.
“However, the circumstances surrounding the unauthorized searches are exacerbated in light of the director’s sending and receiving e-mail related to a political activity through state resources,” the report said.
Also named as improper snoopers: Assistant agency director Fred Williams and Doug Thompson, a deputy child-support director.
Charles said his report would be sent to the office of Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien for review.
Democrat Gov. Ted Strickland placed Jones-Kelley on paid leave Nov. 7 after e-mails requested by The Dispatch revealed she used her state e-mail account to help raise campaign funds for President-Elect Barack Obama.
The inspector general’s report found that the e-mails violated Strickland’s policy on political activity and constituted a “wrongful act” as an inappropriate use of state resources.
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