Panel: former administrator violated law by hiring family

An ethics panel has found that a former state administrator violated Indiana’s nepotism law by hiring three relatives to work at her agency.

The Indiana State Ethics Commission moved on Thursday to bar former Department of Homeland Security administrator Leann Walton from ever working in state government. Walton was fired as the agency’s chief financial officer in August 2016.

Emails show Walton hired her aunt, sister and stepdaughter to various positions throughout the agency. Walton’s aunt and sister were in her direct line of supervision. Her stepdaughter worked in another division.

Walton previously defended her actions. She said that the temp positions, which paid between $12 and about $15 an hour, were low-level and hard to fill.