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.
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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.