Noe pleads guilty to illegally funneling donations to Bush
By Mike Wilkinson and Steve Eder
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.
Noe entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Court Judge David Katz in Toledo to all three felony charges he faced for violating federal campaign finance law.
With the admission, Noe faces a maximum of five years in prison on each count, but likely faces 24-30 months in prison. He also faces a potential fine of nearly $1 million, and possibly probation.
John Pearson, an assistant U.S. Attorney in the public integrity section of the Justice Department, said he would seek an even harsher penalty for Noe
because of the "potential loss of public faith in the presidential race."
The Noe probe identified several current and former politicians as "conduits," including Toledo City Councilman Betty Shultz, Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber, former Toledo mayor Donna Owens, and former state representative Sally Perz.
All face potential state ethics charges for failing to disclose the money from Noe. He still faces more than four dozen other charges
in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on allegations that he stole millions of dollars from two rare-coin funds he managed for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
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