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More Prison Time Sought for GOP Fundraiser

September 06, 2006|From the Associated Press

TOLEDO, Ohio — A prominent GOP fundraiser who pleaded guilty to funneling $45,000 to President Bush's reelection campaign should get more prison time than originally recommended because he made other illegal contributions to candidates in Ohio, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Tom Noe, a high-level fundraiser for Bush's campaign, was involved in a "systematic and pervasive corruption of the federal and state election process," prosecutors said in a court filing.

He used friends and associates to give money illegally to three candidates for the Ohio Supreme Court and two who were running for governor, prosecutors said.

The documents filed in U.S. District Court did not reveal any names or the amount of money allegedly involved and did not specify how much additional time prosecutors thought Noe should serve.

Earlier this year, Douglas Talbott, a former aide to Gov. Robert A. Taft, pleaded no contest to taking money from Noe and combining it with his own to make contributions of $1,000 each to three Ohio Supreme Court justices.

And in June a prosecutor said that Noe may have used former state Rep. Sally Perz to also put money into Taft's reelection campaign in 2002.

Noe has not been charged for alleged donations to Taft or the justices.

He is to be sentenced next Tuesday for the Bush donation scheme, and prosecutors had recommended a sentence of two years to 2 1/2 years after he pleaded guilty to three charges, including exceeding federal campaign contribution limits. The maximum he could face is five years.

He admitted in May to arranging a contribution scheme to fulfill his promise to generate $50,000 for a Bush fundraiser.

Noe, a rare-coin dealer, still is charged in an ill-fated $50 million coin investment that he managed for the state workers' compensation fund. The scandal led to ethics charges against Taft, who pleaded no contest for failing to report gifts such as golf outings.

The coin investment has been a major embarrassment for Ohio's ruling Republicans and has given Democrats a better shot at winning state offices this year, including the governor's office that has been under GOP control since 1991.

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