COLUMBUS: Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is criticizing the state Elections Commission for failing to penalize a former sheriff who used campaign coffers to pay court-ordered restitution for stealing cash from the fund.

The commission on Thursday told the Plain Dealer it would not immediately review last month’s decision regarding former Cuyahoga County Sheriff Gerald McFaul. It has ordered its executive director to write an opinion.

Husted, a Republican, says using campaign funds for restitution is illegal and that allowing McFaul to do so sends a message that campaign finance laws are useless.

McFaul, a Democrat, was ordered to pay $130,000 in restitution in 2010 after pleading guilty to stealing campaign cash, forcing employees to sell fundraiser tickets and improperly appointing his son as a special deputy.

He resigned in 2009.