Noe Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges
Toledo-based Republican fund-raiser Tom Noe pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally contribute $45,400 to the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign, violating the Federal Election Campaign Act by making contributions in the names of others, and making a false statement about the true source of the contributions, which caused the Bush campaign to file a false report. See coverage in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Columbus Dispatch, and Akron Beacon Journal.
The thing that just kills me about this episode is the absolute joke it makes of the notion that Republicans are the party of "personal accountability":
* Noe, the Republican heavy-weight fundraiser, is living in the Florida Keys while awaiting trial on state charges involving the mismanagement and outright theft of millions from the Workers Compensation Bureau investment fund - tough gig! Noe's lawyers are fighting to keep him out of jail on the federal conviction pending trial on the state charges, so that he can consult with his attorneys to prepare for trial. Where, on his yacht?
* Noe "took the conviction in stride, chatting with family members on a bench outside the courtroom before the hearing began and making occasional calls on his cell phone." Mr. Accountability, alright.
* Noe gave $45,400 to 24 friends and associates in order to make illegal contributions to the Bush/Cheney campaign. At least four of those people freely admitted that they knew what they were doing was illegal. A lawyer for three of the illegal conduits (officeholders and a former mayor) "said they were not in danger of being charged because they cooperated with investigators." Now there's personal accountability for you. Perhaps not on the scale of the planners of the Iraq debacle (who won medals) and the superior officers in charge of Abu Ghraib when torture was perpetrated there (who got promotions), but along the same lines.
* The Bush-Cheney campaign donated $6,000 it received directly from Noe and his wife to charity, but the Republican National Committee has not disgorged the money that Noe channeled illegally through his friends and associates. (Similarly, three Republican Supreme Court Justices have put Noe donations funneled to them through an aide to Gov. Bob Taft into escrow, but they have not disposed of it.) Ohio Democratic Party chairman Rep. Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) is calling for the RNC money to be donated to the state workers' compensation bureau, which makes sense, but the RNC "is waiting for a directive it expects from the court about what to do with the money." That's got personal accountability written all over it, yes sir.