A likely outcome. Realistically, there were only two possible motives: Simple curiosity about a new local celebrity or a political hit. And given how quickly Ted Strickland move to put Helen Jones-Kelley on paid leave, it’s pretty clear which one he thought it was.

No charges filed. Yet.

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 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…

Charles said his report would be sent to the office of Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien for review…

The agency has no such policy in writing or records documenting such checks on the newly famous or rich, but state officials said the inspector general was provided with several examples of the practice from recent years.

Also implicated: Deputy director of child support Doug Thompson, whom you may recall “literally demanded” that JTP be checked for outstanding child support payments. Ace fears a whitewash is inevitable but I think we’ve reached enough of a critical mass between national news media and now the IG report that someone’s going to have to take the rap here. I hope Jones-Kelley’s mortgage is paid up, because even if the prosecutor doesn’t act, Wurzelbacher’s civil case just got a lot stronger. Exit question: Doesn’t the boldfaced part suggest that this wasn’t political?

Tags: Ohio