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November 20, 2008

Ohio Inspector General Rules Joe the Plumber Digging "Improper," Serving "No Legitimate Agency Function;" Refers the Case to Prosecutors "For Consideration"

Gate One of the expected, and well-nigh inevitable, whitewash, did not close and the case moves forward.

There are still three or four gates the case has to clear, of course. The "Not enough evidence to prosecute" gate, the "no controlling legal authority gate," and of course the standard "Helen Jones-Kelley has agreed to attend counseling, and we think this concludes the matter" gate.

Still, for now, it goes forward. The Inspector General doesn't seem to have participated in the inevitable whitewash himself.

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services director Helen Jones-Kelley improperly allowed employees to look at Joe the Plumber's confidential state records with "no legitimate agency function," a state investigation concluded.

That's the bottom line from a 48-page report released by Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles on Thursday afternoon. The report calls Jones-Kelley's authorization "improper" and says that she has committed "a wrongful act" by allowing ["allowing?"she authorized them --ace] underlings to search databases for information on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher-a Toledo plumber who was thrust into the spotlight of the 2008 presidential election after he asked a tax policy question of Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

The report calls her rationale that the agency often searches databases for those thrust into the public spotlight "unpersuasive." It says that two former agency directors contradicted Jones-Kelley's claim that such searches are done on newfound celebrities. It concludes that there was "no legitimate agency function or purpose" but does not find that it was politically motivated. [Huh? Maybe some whitewash afoot after all--ace]

The report also states that Jones-Kelley, who gave $2,500 to the Obama campaign, sent four e-mails through her state Blackberry where she provided lists of names of potential contributors to the Obama campaign. It states that such an act violates the governor's policy on political activity and constitutes a "wrongful act" by Jones-Kelley.

The case was referred to Franklin County prosecutors "for review and consideration."

Thanks to WilliamR.


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posted by Ace at 02:25 PM

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