Thursday, June 01, 2006

"Coingate" Figure Pleads Guilty To Illegal Contributions To Bush/Cheney Campaign

The GOP is usually not so sloppy in it's fundraising.

A coin dealer and prominent GOP fundraiser at the center of an Ohio political scandal pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges that he illegally funneled about $45,000 to President Bush's reelection campaign.

Tom Noe, who also raised money for Ohio Republicans, also is charged with embezzlement in an ill-fated $50 million coin investment that he managed for the state workers' compensation fund.

The investment scandal has been a major embarrassment for Ohio's ruling Republicans and has given Democrats a better shot at winning state offices this year, including the governor's office, which has been under GOP control since 1991.

Investigators do not know whether Noe used money from the coin fund for campaign donations.

Noe was charged with exceeding federal campaign contribution limits, using others to make the contributions and causing the Bush campaign to submit a false campaign-finance statement.

Noe was not only generous to the Bush/Cheney campaign, but liked to spread the largesse around.

Investigations into Noe's coin investment led to Gov. Bob Taft's no-contest plea to and conviction in August on charges he accepted golf outings and other gifts that he did not report.

Noe personally gave more than $105,000 to Republicans during the 2004 campaign, including donations to Bush and Taft.

The Bush-Cheney campaign donated $6,000 it received from Noe and his wife to charity. The rest of the money donated at the 2003 Bush fundraiser remains with the Republican Party.

The motto of the Ohio Republican Party should have been "Just Say Noe."

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