The Corner

Rove: What About When Ted Strickland’s Appointee Looked Up Confidential Info about Joe the Plumber?

When Republican strategist Karl Rove and former Ohio governor Ted Strickland discussed the scandal surrounding the decision by members of Governor Chris Christie’s administration to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge this fall, Rove raised a scandal from Strickland’s own time as governor: What about members of his administration who tried to access government files about Joe Wurzelbacher, an Ohio resident who became famous for his opposition of President Obama in the 2008 campaign?

Helen Jones-Kelley, the person Strickland appointed to run the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, was found by two separate investigations to have inappropriately accessed state databases for information about Wurzelbacher (“Joe the Plumber”) and provided insufficient and contradictory reasons for having done so. No clear political motivation was found, however.

Patrick Brennan was a senior communications official at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Trump administration and is former opinion editor of National Review Online.


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