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Indictment Over Bush Donations

October 28, 2005|From Associated Press

TOLEDO, Ohio — A coin dealer and major GOP donor at the center of a scandal in Ohio state government was charged Thursday with illegally funneling $45,400 in contributions to President Bush's reelection.

Tom Noe was accused in a federal indictment of giving money directly or indirectly to 24 friends and associates, who then made the campaign contributions in their own names. In that way, he skirted the $2,000 limit on individual contributions, prosecutors said.

"It's one of the most blatant and excessive finance schemes we have encountered," said Noel Hillman, section chief of the Justice Department's public integrity section.

Calls to the White House and Noe's lawyers were not immediately returned. Prosecutors said the Bush campaign had cooperated with their investigation.

Noe also is under investigation over a $50-million investment in rare coins he managed for the state workers' compensation fund. Noe has acknowledged that as much as $13 million is missing, and Ohio's attorney general has accused him of stealing as much as $6 million. No charges have been filed in that case, though state officials say they plan to do so.

Prosecutors would not reveal the names of the people to whom Noe gave money to contribute or say if any of them would be charged. The indictment said Noe and those who gave his money to Bush had conspired to violate the contribution limits.

If convicted, Noe faces as much as 15 years in prison.

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