One of the top GOP moneymen for Bush/Cheney in Ohio, and for Republicans nationwide, joins the ignominious ranks in the ever-swelling Republican ‘Culture of Corruption.” Apparently, Republicans are seemingly unable to ‘win’ elections without cheating.

A federal grand jury has indicted Tom Now, the former coin dealer suspected of laundering money into Bush’s reelection campaign. Mr. Noe’s attorney told the Toledo Blade today. The United States Attorney’s office announced in April that it was investigating Mr. Noe for possible violations of federal campaign finance laws. Sources told the Blade that authorities believe Mr. Noe gave money to several people who then in turn re-contributed back to the Bush-Cheney campaign.

Since Noe had connections to all the major Republican players, from the indicted Ohio Governor Taft, to the Ohio Sec. of State Blackwell, to Schwarzenegger in California to Bush/Cheney etc., Republicans are now looking like they are smiling in a minefield.

UPDATE: The Blade updates its own story after the Press Conference…A 3 count indictment for Noe.

The three-count indictment says that beginning in October 2003, Mr. Noe contributed to President Bush’s election campaign over and above the limits established by the Federal Election Campaign Act.

The two other counts were for conspiracy and filing false statements. The indictment alleges Mr. Noe’s actions caused false statements to the Federal Elections Commission and defrauded the United States and that he directed his conduit donors to fill out false statements.

Mr. Noe faces the maximum penalty of five years in prison on each count. The conspiracy and false statement could carry a maximum fine of $250,000 and the campaign finance violation carries a mandatory fine of between $136,200 and $454,000.

Local law enforcement sources said investigators are looking at contributions made by people from the Toledo area to the Bush Campaign at the fund-raiser, at which the campaign raised $1.4 million

FURTHER UPDATE: AP picks up the story (headline: ‘Major Republican Donor Indicted in Ohio’), and adds some background…

Thomas Noe is also under investigation over an ill-fated $50 million investment in rare coins he managed for the state workers’ compensation fund. Noe has acknowledged that $13 million is missing and Ohio’s attorney general has accused him of stealing as much as $6 million. Now contributed more than $105,000 to Republicans, including Bush and Gov. Taft, during the 2004 campaign.

UPDATE: From Toledo Blade

Money fueled Ohio GOP, now puts future at risk
2 decades of planning paved way for Bush win http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051031/NEWS24/510310319/-1/NEWS

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