Wednesday, May 31, 2006

REPUBLICROOK TOM NOE FINALLY PLEADS GUILTY

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When I started DWT exactly one year ago I had two especially egregious Republicrooks in my sites: Randy "Duke" Cunningham, formerly an extreme right-wing Congressman from San Diego's northern suburbs, currently serving an 8 year, 4 month term in a federal prison for bribery, and Thomas Noe, a kingpin of the Ohio Republican Party. Just hours ago, Noe-- after screaming about his innocence (like all the Republicrooks always do, from Tom DeLay to Robert Ney to Ken Lay) for a year-- plead guilty. According the the TOLEDO BLADE "Former GOP fund-raiser Tom Noe admitted today that he used politicians, former aides to Gov. Bob Taft, coworkers, and friends to illegally pour thousands of dollars into the effort to reelect President Bush."

Actually, it's even more exciting than just that. Noe, a Republican Party County Chairman, had been Mr. GOP power broker in NW Ohio for many years. There isn't an important Republican office holder in a state-- where ALL the important office holders are Republicans-- who isn't beholden to Noe, from Governor Taft, Secretary of State Blackwell, ex-Governor/now Senator Voinovich, Attorney General Petro, State Auditor Montgomery, right up to 5 of the 7 Supreme Court judges. And in a state with virtual one-party rule (and with a Secretary of State who has been clearly shown to be a manipulator of vote counting), there were no checks and no balances. Even if you didn't follow the Enron case too closely, you must be aware how many millions of dollars were lost (read: "STOLEN") from employees' retirement funds (that is, from the voluntary private accounts the employees had). In this case, the Republican office holders-- the ones with the legal fiduciary responsibility for protecting the money collected from taxpayers, the ones with no checks and no balances-- decided to "invest" MILLIONS of dollars from the Ohio Workers' Compensation Bureau into a highly speculative fund, which buys and sells rare coins, run by the GOP Chairman of Lucas County, Thomas Noe. No other state invests public money in something this risky but the most charitable thing I've heard about this "strategy" is that its safer than taking the money to a riverboat gambling operation.

While Noe was funneling HUGE sums of money into the Bush/Cheney campaign and into the campaigns of Governor Taft, Secretary of State Blackwell, Senators Voinovich and DeWine, Attorney General Petro, State Auditor Montgomery, a gaggle of Republican congressmen and state legislators, and 5 of the 7 Ohio Supreme Court judges, as much as 20% of the investment was "lost" (again, read: "stolen"). We're not talking about the values decreasing; we're talking about the coins being PHYSICALLY lost ("stolen").

At one point Noe had publically threatened to "take down" the whole Ohio Republican Party with him, but, apparently, some kind of a deal has been made and he hasn't taken down anyone.

His plea was guilty on all 3 felony charges against him. No date has been set for sentencing yet anbd the maximum would be 15 years. Being white, rich and Republican it is more likely that he'll get 2 years and then get pardoned by Bush, who he helped steal the Ohio 2004 election. And the crooked Secretary of State who worked on all this stuff with Noe? He's the GOP candidate for Governor.


THURSDAY UPDATE: STATE CHARGES STILL PENDING

Turns out Noe's guilty plea yesterday was only for the federal charges of "illegally funneling money to George W. Bush's 2004 reelection campaign." According to today's NY TIMES the prosecutors' recommendation that Noe serve between 24 and 30 months in prison will be held in abeyance until after the state trial for stealing the millions of dollars from the Ohio worker compensation fund. Noe has already pleaded not guilty to those (far more serious) charges. And those are the charges that could lead to unpleasant consequences for Ohio's Republican Party office holders, most-- not many, most-- of whom were part of Noe's scheme to defraud Ohio workers with a massive transfer of funds from their compensation fund to GOP party coffers (and pockets). There are 53 charges pending in the state case. Three Noe recipients in the biggest trouble right now are Senator Mike DeWine, Congressman Bob Ney and Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.

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2 Comments:

At 7:42 PM, Anonymous teach said...

Happy Anniversary Howie! You will definitely see more of these guys fall than those you first targeted.

The blog has been wonderful.

 
At 9:24 PM, Anonymous plum said...

"Being white, rich and Republican it is more likely that he'll get 2 years and then get pardoned by Bush, who he helped steal the Ohio 2004 election."

You're kidding, right? Is there no hint this will reach higher? I mean, sure, the White House will deny knowing where the money came from, but surely this will hit the front pages enough times that it will make any pardon politically impossible.

I mean, in a world with justice...

 

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