6/03/2005

Lost coins are a hot potato for GOP - Yahoo! News

Money has always been the coin of the political realm, but the unfolding scandal over lost coins in Ohio--old nickels, dimes and gold pieces coveted by collectors and valued into the millions of dollars--is shaking the Republican Party to its grand old roots.

In what is all-too-predictably being labeled "Coingate," state and federal authorities have sicced their investigative dogs on the activities of Thomas Noe, a Toledo coin collector who was chairman of
President Bush's 2004 re-election campaign in northwest Ohio and who, over the years, has been a lawn sprinkler of campaign cash to major Republican candidates in the state.

Noe is in trouble because an estimated $12 million to $13 million in state money from a worker's compensation fund is missing after being invested in rare coin funds that Noe controls.

Authorities say they are pursuing criminal charges, and Noe, the gregarious, 50-year-old bankrolling confidant of Ohio Republicans, has become political poison. His former friends, including the governor, couldn't be running any faster to get away from him and the taint of scandal.

Gov. Bob Taft, U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine (news, bio, voting record) and three other statewide officeholders with gubernatorial ambitions announced this week that they are giving up about $60,000 they had received from Noe.

In Washington, the
Republican National Committee said Thursday it would donate to charities $6,000 that the Bush-Cheney campaign and the RNC received from Noe and his wife, Bernadette. The Bush campaign received more than $100,000 raised by Noe. RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said remaining contributions "appear to be completely appropriate."

Bush met with Noe last October to thank him and his wife for their fundraising efforts. Bush narrowly won Ohio, whose 19 electoral votes enabled him to secure a second term



Lost coins are a hot potato for GOP - Yahoo! News

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