TOLEDO, Ohio -- A major GOP donor surrendered to authorities yesterday on charges that he tried to skirt campaign finance laws by giving other people thousands of dollars to pass on to President Bush's reelection effort.
Tom Noe, a coin dealer also embroiled in an Ohio state government scandal, was taken into custody in Orlando, Fla., and was being held there by the FBI, said David Bauer, an assistant US attorney in Toledo. He was released after posting bond.
Noe was charged in a federal indictment Thursday with illegally funneling $45,400 to the president's reelection bid through two dozen friends and associates. Individual contributions are limited by law to $2,000.
Noe also is under investigation over a $50 million investment in rare coins he managed for the Ohio workers' compensation fund. He has acknowledged that as much as $13 million is missing, and Ohio's attorney general has accused him of stealing as much as $6 million. No charges have been filed in that case, but state officials say they plan to do so.
Prosecutors say Noe wrote checks to friends in the eight days leading up to Bush's fund-raiser at a hotel in downtown Columbus on Oct. 30, 2003. His friends then made donations in their own names, the federal indictment said. The fund-raiser was held a year before Ohio gave Bush the White House.
Prosecutors would not disclose the friends' names or say whether any of them would be charged. The indictment said they and Noe conspired to violate the contribution limits.