Tom Noe, a prominent coin dealer and former Bush fundraiser was found guilty last week of money laundering, corrupt activity, forgery, tampering with records and theft. This morning he was sentenced to a stiff 18 years in prison. This comes on top of a 27-month sentence for violating federal campaign laws when donating to Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004. He will also pay a $213,000 fine and $3 million for the cost of the prosecution.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) gave $50 million to Noe to invest in rare coins. It is reported that Noe stole between $2 million and $13 million to pay off business loans and buy a house in the Florida Keys.
Thomas Osowik, the presiding judge has this to say: "You continued to spend the bureau’s money at what I thought was a shockingly, alarmingly large rate, and done for one purpose: to present some type of a facade that you had a bottomless cup of wealth and luxury at your disposal, when in fact it was at the state’s expense."
Noe may still end up in Florida; retiring at one if of its fine federal prisons.
This shows the corrupting effect of our current campaign finance system and the pressure to increase political influence in a high-stakes money game. A system for public funding of elections would mean that candidates would no longer need to rely on fundraising by crooks.