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Summary of Ohio GOP Coin-gate to date

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I was talking to John last night about the coin-gate scandal. So much has happened, he asked me to write a condensed version about it.

On April 9th, I got a call from a friend in Ohio who told me that the Toledo Blade was reporting that the Ohio Workers Compensation Board had invested $50 million in a rare-coin fund. The fund was managed by Tom Noe who is THE major GOP fundraiser in Ohio. He was even a Bush Pioneer. He had a couple of major appointments from the governor under his belt, too. His wife, Bernadette, is also a major player in Ohio GOP politics. She was the chair of the GOP in Lucas County and was on the county's board of elections during the 2004 elections.

Noe, btw, is under investigation by the US Attorney for federal election issues. Think about that one....the US Attorney is a Bush appointee...and he's already investigating Noe for something that happened just last had to scream out for attention.

Initial calls by Democrats for an investigation were met with disdain by the Republicans who control Ohio. Republican leaders kept maintaining that the fund turned a profit and that was all that mattered. But every day it seemed the story got more complex.

After the Blade broke the story, there were a series of developments. First, it turned out that 121 of the coins were missing. Then, there was the development that the Governor's Chief of Staff was a guest at Noe's vacation home in a very reduced rate. Noe was on the verge of receiving another $25 million from the state. When the Ohio Supreme Court was asked for a ruling in the case, five of the seven justices had to recuse themselves because they had received large contributions from Noe.

In Ohio, all GOP roads lead to and through Tom Noe.

This week, it was learned that the rare coin fund was investing in other "collectibles" -- which no one in the state government knew about.

An investigation was ordered of the premises, but Noe prevented the authorities from entering his premises. Then, last night, Noe's attorney announced that 10 - 12 million was missing.

Every major player in Ohio GOP politics is connected to Noe: Governor Taft, Senator Voinovich, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, Attorney General Jim Petro, State Auditor Betty Montgomery....they all had to be pushed and prodded into taking action.

And that whole thing about the rare coin fund making a profit...hmm...that's gone now too.

Today, the Toledo Blade (which should win a Pulitzer for their coverage) reported that Governor Taft did a press conference announcing that the head of the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation was resigning. He also said “I am outraged, angered, saddened, sickened by what we learned yesterday from Mr. Noe’s attorney.”

The people of Ohio should be outraged, angered, saddened and sickened by the behavior of their elected officials. Ohio is a GOP stronghold. Everything about this scandal reeks of hubris, arrogance and total disregard for the public interest. They have absolute power....and it does corrupt absolutely.

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