BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (TDB) -- Nearly $8,000 in campaign donations flowed from crooked GOP insider Tom Noe, who is now serving federal and state prison sentences, to Republican State Sen. Steve Buehrer, a candidate for a seat in the U.S. House.
Noe has come to symbolize the face of political corruption in Ohio. He has been convicted of stealing from Ohio's $50 million rare coin fund, and also for illegally laundering some $45,000 into President Bush's reelection campaign.
There is more about Noe's crooked activities in this Toledo Blade story from Nov. 20, 2006. Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Osowik said Noe "cooked the books" in a scheme to cheat the public.
Campaign finance records examined by The Daily Bellwether at the Ohio Secretary of State's office show Noe began writing checks to Buehrer's campaign fund during the 2000 election cycle. He donated $2,500 to Citizens for Buehrer that year. Six other check brought in another $5,479 between 2001-2004.
Records examined by The Bellwether indicate that State Rep. Bob Latta -- Buehrer's opponent in the OH-05 GOP primary -- received just one campaign contribution from Noe, a $750 check. (For some reason, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's Web site has been malfunction today. The links either fail or misdirect. There is a note saying the portal is undergoing maintenance. )
Latta and Buehrer are both conservatives, but Buehrer has been portraying himself as the stronger foe of any efforts to raise taxes, and contends his anti-abortion credentials are superior to Latta's. Buehrer also has backing from the Club for Growth, which is vehemently opposed to any new taxes.
But the Noe contributions may present an opening for Latta -- who might begin to make a case that Buehrer was silent, inactive, or inattentive during the scandals of the Taft years because Buehrer accepted campaign funds from a known crook. Political corruption is an issue that is high on the public's radar, and the eight checks totaling $7,979 from Noe to Buehrer's campaign fund are likely to become a way to dredge up the recent scandals and pin more sins on the jailed fundraiser.