Just before the 2004 election in Ohio, George Bush singled out his “friend,” the “grassroots activist” Tom Noe for his “leadership in Lucas County.”
Noe was a Bush Pioneer, the most politically connected Republican in Ohio. But he seemingly found the prospect of actually raising $100,000 for the President’s campaign too onerous. So in his ethically flexible way, he turned to crime, laundering more than $45,000 of his own money to the Bush/Cheney campaign though 24 friends and associates. The investment paid off. Noe, a rare coin dealer, was rewarded with a plum advisory post to the U.S. Mint.
This week, Noe pleaded guilty to three felony counts of money laundering that will likely land him in the joint for more than a year. (And that’s not even accounting for his staring role in Coingate, for which he still faces more than 50 felony counts for allegedly making off with more than $1 million in moneys he conned state officials into investing into a rare coin fund he controlled.)
But Noe influenced the outcome in 2004 with more than his money. Noe also joined his friend Ken Blackwell as a citizen “intervener” in two critical lawsuits in Ohio —one that successfully defended Blackwell’s decision to disenfranchise provisional voters who stood in the wrong line to vote —a dictate that created a net loss of more than 10,000 urban votes in the Buckeye state —and another that successfully blocked a full manual count of Ohio’s votes.
But Noe was hardly the average Ohio citizen he makes himself out to be in court documents. He was also the Bush/Cheney campaign chair for Northwest Ohio. His wife, Bernadette, was chair of the Lucas County (Toledo) board of elections.
So here you have the most corrupt figure in Ohio not only laundering money to the Bush campaign, but going to court to suppress voters’ rights and guard against a free and fair count of Ohio’s ballots.
The president has much to thank his “friend” for, indeed.