Did Jones-Kelley use her office to raise money for Obama?

posted at 11:20 am on November 11, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Helen Jones-Kelley initiated an investigation into Joe Wurzelbacher on his tax records and potential child-support payment issues when his question to Barack Obama threatened to derail Obama’s election.  Now we find that Jones-Kelley may have abused her position in Ohio state government to assist Obama’s fundraising.  A separate probe into her actions will finish later this week, according to Ohio’s inspector general (via William Amos):

Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles’ investigation into whether Helen Jones-Kelley used her top-level state job for improper political fundraising could be finished this week, Charles said on Monday, Nov. 10.

Gov. Ted Strickland has placed Jones-Kelley, 57, of Clayton on paid administrative leave from her $141,980-a-year job as director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services due to what Strickland called the “possibility” that a state computer or state e-mail account was used to help in political fundraising for the Obama for president campaign.

Jones-Kelley, who contributed $2,500 to Obama, formerly headed the same department in Montgomery County.

Earlier, we assumed the suspension related to the unwarranted probe of Joe the Plumber’s records that Jones-Kelley initiated, and later allegedly tried to cover up.  Apparently, Jones-Kelley tried creating a little more Hope and Change in her official duties as JFS Director than first thought.  Governor Strickland has directed the IG to combine the two investigations into a single effort.

What did Jones-Kelley do?  She tipped off Team Obama to potential donors for an Obama fundraiser at a Dayton school, and used her work e-mail to do it.  She identified at least one other public official as a potential invitee, who did get an invitation and attended with the requisite $2,500 donation.

The revelation of partisan electoral activities by Jones-Kelley adds to the skepticism over her actions in investigating Wurzelbacher.  Jones-Kelley had already abused her position to raise funds for Obama, and so her transition to trampling Wurzelbacher’s civil rights in order to help smear him after the presidential debate seems more consisten in that context.  If Strickland doesn’t take action against Jones-Kelley, Ohio voters should remember that in 2010 and kick him out of office.


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I have a feeling that there are hundreds or even thousands of Jones-Kelleys out there that misused their office to raise money for Nobama.

carbon_footprint on November 11, 2008 at 11:22 AM

misused their offices

carbon_footprint on November 11, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Frog march. Public trial. Jail. Lesson. End of story.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on November 11, 2008 at 11:23 AM

You missed a key quote there Ed

The inspector general’s office will report its findings to Strickland. When appropriate, the office also may forward information to a prosecutor to determine whether criminal prosecution is merited.

On Monday, Strickland warned against jumping to conclusions. “Not everything may be as it appears to be on its face,” he said. “I’m told there are technology issues involved here that can be clarified and are being looked at.”</blockquote>

William Amos on November 11, 2008 at 11:23 AM

I also look forward to the results of the Obama Campaign donations investigation. When will that come out?

carbon_footprint on November 11, 2008 at 11:24 AM

carbon_footprint on November 11, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Tru dat, playa. Think ACORN has any contacts within in state offices? My guess? Yep.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on November 11, 2008 at 11:24 AM

I was going to criticize her, but I’m typing this from work.

jacrews on November 11, 2008 at 11:24 AM

Frog march. Public trial. Jail. Lesson. End of story. Presidential Pardon From President Present

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on November 11, 2008 at 11:23 AM

carbon_footprint on November 11, 2008 at 11:24 AM

Tru dat, playa. Think ACORN has any contacts within in state offices? My guess? Yep.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on November 11, 2008 at 11:24 AM

That is my guess as well.
If this entire campaign financing would be investigated with the same fervor of investigations into say, Plame, it would take millions of dollars and months and months and the results would be astounding.

carbon_footprint on November 11, 2008 at 11:26 AM

carbon_footprint on November 11, 2008 at 11:24 AM

Sadly, you are correct. Let’s hope G-Dubs has the courage pardons Libby for his non-crime as well as Ramos and Compean.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on November 11, 2008 at 11:27 AM

I was going to criticize her, but I’m typing this from work.

jacrews on November 11, 2008 at 11:24 AM

As long as you’re not working for taxpayers (& as long as your boss approves), it’s OK.

jgapinoy on November 11, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Did Jones-Kelley use her office to raise money for Obama? Yes.

Will she serve time? No.

Don’t blame me, I voted for Blackwell!

saint kansas on November 11, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Joe the plumber needs to get a rabid pit bull of a lawyer and sue the state of Ohio. Big Time. Here you have a blatantly partisan public official who made the claim that her authorization was “routine” and now we find that isn’t the case.

Where’s Gloria Allred the one time you need her?

highhopes on November 11, 2008 at 11:27 AM

If Strickland doesn’t take action against Jones-Kelley, Ohio voters should remember that in 2010 and kick him out of office.

Right, like that will happen.

thegreatbeast on November 11, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Ohio voters should remember that in 2010 and kick him out of office.

BTW Im trying to talk to John Kasich and his staff. There is a strong rumor he will be running for Governor in 2010

Key to this is taking out Jennifer Brunner in 2010 as well.

William Amos on November 11, 2008 at 11:28 AM

Joe the Plumber should sue Jones-Kelly and the state of Ohio for millions. Not for the money, mind you – just for the principle.

savvydude on November 11, 2008 at 11:28 AM

Exposes like this help secure our democracy from the political tyrants. Tar and feathers should be appropriate if it is true…

DL13 on November 11, 2008 at 11:28 AM

Tru dat, playa. Think ACORN has any contacts within in state offices? My guess? Yep.

Happened in 2006

’06 Minn. AG Settlement Terms Draws Auditor’s Eye
ST. PAUL

A Minnesota government investigator has questioned whether former Attorney General Mike Hatch was out to aid a political ally in a 2006 settlement with a credit card company that steered nearly $500,000 away from the state treasury and toward nonprofit groups.

Instead, Hatch’s office and the defendant were able to pick other recipients for two-thirds of the proceeds: the Minnesota chapters of the Legal Aid Society and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN. The state got $250,000 to cover its investigative costs.

Less than a month later, Hatch appeared as a gubernatorial candidate at a news conference to accept the endorsement of ACORN’s Minnesota-based political action committee, which is legally distinct from the nonprofit group’s official work.

William Amos on November 11, 2008 at 11:30 AM

I anticipate the same lack of bias in this investigation as in any Congressional hearings on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

a capella on November 11, 2008 at 11:30 AM

Sadly, you are correct. Let’s hope G-Dubs has the courage pardons Libby for his non-crime as well as Ramos and Compean.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on November 11, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Indeed, if Clinton could provide pardons for the Weather Underground and the biggest tax-cheat in the history of the nation, then Ramos, Compean and Libby deserve it.

carbon_footprint on November 11, 2008 at 11:31 AM

I find the breach of Joe the Plumber’s privacy 100 times more troubling than these new allegations.

CanadianGuy on November 11, 2008 at 11:34 AM

I’m feelin’ a tingle up my leg……

subbottomfeeder on November 11, 2008 at 11:37 AM

I find the breach of Joe the Plumber’s privacy 100 times more troubling than these new allegations.

CanadianGuy on November 11, 2008 at 11:34 AM

Probably why the Governor’s office is focusing more on these alegations. They want to take the lesser evil and make it the greater evil.

William Amos on November 11, 2008 at 11:38 AM

“I’m told there are technology issues involved here that can be clarified and are being looked at.”

Hmm. Sounds like an all-purpose excuse in the making. The backups are lost, a hard drive crashed, some IT guy did some unexplainable thing. Computers are mysterious you know.

Whatever it turns out to be this doesn’t make it sound like it’ll be genuine “clarification.”

Gilda on November 11, 2008 at 11:40 AM

Quick: jump over to the Bizzaro universe* to see what would have happened to a Republican off-holder who raised campaign cash for a GOP candidate.

Last I checked, the Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Cincinnati Enquirer were keeping a tight lid on this story. And with Dems throwing disfavored media off the place (and under the bus) it appears we are head for the Dark Ages of investigative journalism.

Or is that a racist remark, too?

* Whoops… I forget: WE are the ones living in the Bizzaro universe.

VastRightWingConspirator on November 11, 2008 at 11:41 AM

The ACORN doesn’t fall far from The One.

fogw on November 11, 2008 at 11:41 AM

So, just where is the ACLU on this? Are they at the AIG party also?

Kevin in Washington State on November 11, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Is there something in Ohio’s water?

The SoS & the Guv. have shown themselves to be major O-Tools.

What about the Ohio’s AG? Or will it take the U.S. Justice Dept. to fillet this fish?

Calling G. Bush’s spine.

G. Bush’s spine, please call your office.

locomotivebreath1901 on November 11, 2008 at 11:49 AM

If Strickland doesn’t take action against Jones-Kelley, Ohio voters should remember that in 2010 and kick him out of office.

People have very short memories. The Republicans should make sure to remind them.

Phoenician on November 11, 2008 at 11:49 AM

Here is a small hypocrisy: the liberals scream abuse of power regarding Sarah Palin’s legitimate firing of an appointee. She is exonerated. Meanwhile, they are quiet and tacit in their approval of a true abuse of power where a government agency violates the rights of a private citizen.

Of course, as we have seen, hypocrisy is SOP for liberals.

Mallard T. Drake on November 11, 2008 at 11:50 AM

I wish we still had public punishments here in this nation.
I would love to see this crook put into the stockade and then everyone getting to walk by and through stuff at her.
She’s a crook and thug just like her hero, Imagine That!

dinkyjackson on November 11, 2008 at 11:53 AM

Don’t blame me, I voted for Blackwell!

saint kansas on November 11, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Same here

If Strickland doesn’t take action against Jones-Kelley, Ohio voters should remember that in 2010 and kick him out of office.

I’d like to kick that jackass out right now. First tax my groceries, then tax the air I breath. Thanks alot Ohio democrats.

No wait.. Thanks for nothing.

loudmouth883 on November 11, 2008 at 11:54 AM

I wish that the Bush Administration would just spend the next two months investigating all this mess. He won’t, but it would be nice.

carbon_footprint on November 11, 2008 at 11:57 AM

“I’m told there are technology issues involved here that can be clarified and are being looked at.”

Hell yes it’s an all-purpose excuse in the making. The computers became sentient and sent the emails themselves.

Please overlook the irony that Cuyahoga County has $22 million worth of electronic voting machines sitting in a closet because machines (that allowed Bush to be elected) aren’t to be trusted.

saint kansas on November 11, 2008 at 11:58 AM

I predict that this will go nowhere, unless an outside force, like Joe the plumber sues.

Notice how ALL the issues like illegal contributions, ACORN and voter fraud etc, have just vanished..like enemy combatants melting back into the general population after an attack? They, the issues, and their tactics will be back when needed. “Just go about your business…nothing to see here”.

Itchee Dryback on November 11, 2008 at 12:00 PM

And if WE (conservatives) think the media is going to cover this at all , better check who the prez elect is.
I dont know what the solution is but , I sure can see what the problem is.
To bad we cannot coordinate with others to keep a watch on this and hold the right people accountable.

ColdWarrior57 on November 11, 2008 at 12:04 PM

BTW Im trying to talk to John Kasich and his staff. There is a strong rumor he will be running for Governor in 2010

Key to this is taking out Jennifer Brunner in 2010 as well.

I can’t wait to vote for Kasich. He will mop the floor with Strickland.

KeepOhioRed on November 11, 2008 at 12:06 PM

It’s okay, everyone. They aren’t going to audit Obama anyway, so she won’t face any “embarrassing” revelations…

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1108/15497.html

UnderstandingisPower on November 11, 2008 at 12:08 PM

Go ahead Ed, tell us again how this doesn’t delegitimize Obama’s election.

OneGyT on November 11, 2008 at 12:10 PM

“The ends justify the means,” or so they preach.

ErinF on November 11, 2008 at 12:13 PM

A black woman making 140k a year? In AmeriKKKa?

How do the Democrats win again? I don’t get it.

Metro on November 11, 2008 at 12:19 PM

Somebody needs to file FOIA requests right away for all state government emails in North Carolina, New Mexico, Iowa, Nevada, and Virginia. I’ll bet there were numerous state offices in those states used to promote Obama’s campaign.

rockmom on November 11, 2008 at 12:21 PM

This smells of Al Gore phoning from the White
House to get campaign contributions!

“There is no Legal Controling Authority”!

And again,if this was a Republican,the DNC
and the MSM would have a collective temper
tantrum,and wouldn’t stop until there was
a investigation!

canopfor on November 11, 2008 at 12:21 PM

A black woman making 140k a year? In AmeriKKKa?

How do the Democrats win again? I don’t get it.

Metro on November 11, 2008 at 12:19 PM

At the risk of sounding racist, government at all levels has been the biggest engine of job growth for the black middle class. We often associate government jobs with building roads and bridges, but there is bureaucracy at the federal, state, and local level that involves thousands of white collar jobs that are highly coveted.

rockmom on November 11, 2008 at 12:29 PM

If Strickland doesn’t take action against Jones-Kelley, Ohio voters should remember that in 2010 and kick him out of office.

True enough, however my faith in the intelligence of the American Electorate doesn’t see that happening. Just look at the close election in the race for the recently convicted Sen. from Alaska. Or the re-election of William “Cold Cash” Jefferson.

If convicted felons can get re-elected in this country, I highly doubt he will be punished for not taking action against a state employee for an indiscretion that happened 2 years prior.

MAD2008 on November 11, 2008 at 12:29 PM

It’s okay, everyone. They aren’t going to audit Obama anyway, so she won’t face any “embarrassing” revelations… – UnderstandingisPower

From the link:

Adding insult to injury for Republicans: The FEC is obligated to complete a rigorous audit of McCain’s campaign coffers, which will take months, if not years, and cost McCain millions of dollars to defend.

&

McCain, on the other hand, accepted the $84 million in taxpayer money, which not only barred him from raising or spending more – allowing Obama to fund many times more ads and ground operations – but also will keep his lawyers busy for a couple years explaining how every penny was spent.

Suffer the consequences for ‘playing nice’ and ‘by the rules’.

heroyalwhyness on November 11, 2008 at 12:35 PM

This is small potatoes. Jones-Kelly will get a letter of repirmand and thats about all she will get.
What really needs to be investigated is Obama’s campaign fund raising nation wide. Thats where the dirt is.

jellybelly on November 11, 2008 at 12:40 PM

Write to the Governor at
http://www.governor.ohio.gov/Assistance/ContacttheGovernor/tabid/150/Default.aspx

My note to him is below…

Dear Governor Strickland:

Please add my voice to the thousands of other citizens who are outraged by the apparent recent abuse of power by Ohio employee Helen Jones-Kelley.

Not only did she abuse the powers of her office to maliciously harass a private citizen, Joseph Wurzelbacher, for daring to question her Presidential candidate-of-choice…

… But it now appears she also abused the powers of her office to engage in strong-armed fundraising tactics on behalf of her candidate.

This is precisely the kind of governmental cronyism and intimidation that America fought against in virtually every war in its history.

Please contact me to let me know 1) what steps you are taking in general to prevent such abuses of power by Ohio public servants, and 2) what specifically you intend to do if Ms. Jones-Kelley is indeed proven to have engaged in wrongdoing.

I eagerly await your response, Governor Strickland.

VastRightWingConspirator on November 11, 2008 at 12:40 PM

why is that the left wants card check?
why is that the left wants freedom act?
why is it that joe got messed over?
why is that there are truth sqauds in this country?
why is it that most of the higher education schools repress free speach?
why is it that 3 year kids have to be controlled by a school system?
why is it that that most people think our schools are in fact a failure AND CAN CHOOSE ANY OTHER?

TomLawler on November 11, 2008 at 12:46 PM

Misuse of power? That would be how 0bama got elected.

Princeps on November 11, 2008 at 12:50 PM

UnderstandingisPower on November 11, 2008 at 12:08 PM

The FEC won’t investigate Obama’s campaign contribution fraud because 1) he raised too much for it to matter, and 2) he won.

HOW CAN THIS BE AMERICA??? WHY THE HELL DO WE HAVE AN FEC ANYWAY?

I want somebody to capture the image in “Princess Bride” of Inigo with Count Rugen. Count Rugen’s face should be replaced wth George Soros’. And I want a caption that says, “I want my country back, you son of a bitch”

justincase on November 11, 2008 at 1:40 PM

Why the heck do we have an FEC if they won’t investigate obvious fraud because there’s too much of it for any one instance to be a big deal, and besides the fraudster won?

Remember in Princess Bride when Inigo bested Count Rugen? I want a poster with Inigo next to the begging Count Rugen. Rugen’s face should be replaced with George Soros’. And the caption should read (edited here) “I want my country back, you son of a b!tch!”

justincase on November 11, 2008 at 1:42 PM

Sorry. Thought the first one got cut.

justincase on November 11, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Not to worry, Im sure Jones-Kelley will secure some type of position in the Osama administration.

malkinmania on November 11, 2008 at 2:06 PM

I have a feeling Jones-Kelley, if she loses her job, won’t be so hopey-changey anymore.

Richard Romano on November 11, 2008 at 2:51 PM

If only planned parenthood had achieved it’s goals….

texaninfidel on November 11, 2008 at 3:01 PM

Gov. Ted Strickland has placed Jones-Kelley, 57, of Clayton on paid administrative leave from her $141,980-a-year job….

She had better think twice about who she votes for. She’s just a couple of pay raises away from a major increase in her income taxes under The One’s “plan”.

UltimateBob on November 11, 2008 at 4:05 PM

If only planned parenthood had achieved it’s goals….

texaninfidel on November 11, 2008 at 3:01 PM

UmmmmNo. We’re prolife even when it comes to cheats and people who abuse their power.

I wish her a long life – and the next few years of it spent in jail for this crime of unwarranted invasion of privacy. It WAS against the law for her to do it, right? Then HOW can she get off? She admits doing it!

inviolet on November 11, 2008 at 5:18 PM