Ohio’s Inspector General has concluded that there was no legitimate reason for the investigation of Joe the Plumber:
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland is standing by an agency director who OK’d improper computer checks for confidential information on “Joe the Plumber” and used state e-mails for political fundraising.
Strickland announced today that Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Department of Job and Family Services, will be placed on unpaid leave for one month in response to an inspector general’s investigation.
The investigation found Jones-Kelley had no legitimate reasons to check on Toledo-area resident Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, who was popularized as “Joe the Plumber” by Republican presidential candidate John McCain. It also confirmed she improperly used her state e-mail account to raise campaign money for President-elect Barack Obama.
Some Republican leaders, who cited the report’s findings to call on Democrat Strickland to fire Jones-Kelley, were stunned that she will remain on the job.
The Inspector General’s conclusion isn’t at all surprising, given everything we already know. I am honestly shocked, however, that Gov. Strickland is standing by Jones-Kelley. He could have avoided being swept up in this scandal, but he’s a part of it now. He is now the Governor that condones using sensitive state databases for political opposition research. He is also the Governor that condones using state resources for political fundraising. Why would he do that?