Here’s an interesting news note from The Columbus Dispatch. It seems that Helen Jones-Kelley, who is already under investigation for authorizing a personal records check on “Joe the Plumber”, has now been put on paid leave for apparently violating state policies by using her state computer and e-mail account to help raise money and organize events for Obama’s campaign.
Helen Jones-Kelley is a high-ranking official who serves as the director of the Department of Job and Family Services, with a yearly salary of $141,980. All employees were reminded of the state policies against using state resources for partisan politics. Even though Helen Jones-Kelley was made aware of that policy, she still went ahead with her actions.
Perhaps she thought she wouldn’t get caught?
It’s possible she might have escaped scrutiny if only she hadn’t drawn attention to herself by authorizing a search into the personal records of ‘Joe the Plumber’. Once she came under fire for that questionable use of state resources, the ensuing investigation revealed her penchant for using a computer and email for partisan fund-raising, organizing, and donation efforts for Obama.
Do you see the sweet universal force of justice at work here? I do. Her initial action to ‘get Joe the plumber’ boomeranged right back onto her, revealing other activities meant to help elect Obama besides investigating good ole Joe the Plumber. I must say, I find it quite ironic indeed.
The Dispatch says:
E-mails obtained today by The Dispatch show that Helen Jones-Kelley’s e-mail account was used to assist the presidential campaign of Democrat Barack Obama in raising money.
In e-mails released Friday, Jones-Kelley supplied Obama campaign staffers with names of Ohioans to invite to fund-raisers and solicit for campaign donations.
“Attached are more names of people who would be willing and able to make appropriate contributions for Friday,” she wrote on July 8 to Michael O’Neil of the Obama campaign. “I will work on this more before this evening, since these are names that will be of benefit over time even if Friday is not a possibility.”
In an e-mail reply to Jones-Kelley the next day, O’Neil from the Obama campaign, thanked her for her donation and her work to turn out supporters to an “Obama Victory Fund” event in Dayton.
“You have been wonderful,” O’Neil wrote. “I would appreciate your $2,500 contribution to our efforts and join us Friday of course.”
On July 8, Jones-Kelley offered to write a $2,500 check to the campaign to join Obama at his appearance, volunteered to contact would-be contributors and offered to help arrange an event for Michelle Obama, the candidate’s wife.
Other emails show Jones-Kelley receiving emails through her state account that were of a partisan political nature; one email in particular from the Obama campaign contained an attached donation form. Not surprisingly, Obama’s Ohio campaign spokesperson did not return calls made by The Dispatch about this matter.
The article says that Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has named Jan Allen, secretary of his cabinet, as acting agency director until the investigation has been completed.
I don’t believe a state employee who knowingly violates state policies should continue to keep their position. There are many other ethical people who could take over that position instead of Jones-Kelley. Gov. Strickland might not like permanently replace a loyal Obama dem like Jones-Kelley, but if the investigation determines she is guilty of violating clear state policies, he may have no choice.
Ah, sweet, sweet, justice!