Thursday, June 1, 2006

O Pioneers!*

From the Toledo Blade:

More than two years after investigators began probing Tom Noe’s vaunted political fund-raising ability, he admitted yesterday that he used friends and colleagues to illegally pour thousands of dollars into the effort to re-elect President Bush.

Noe, whose fund-raising acumen earned him star status as a Bush “Pioneer” and helped him secure coveted federal and state political appointments, pleaded guilty to all three felony counts he faced.

[…]

His guilty plea also acknowledged implicitly that he illegally obtained the cachet typically bestowed upon the biggest political fund-raisers. Hundreds of the Bush “Pioneers” and “Rangers” — those who raised more than $100,000 and $200,000 respectively — were rewarded with coveted ambassadorships, favorable policy changes, and friendly legislation. Noe himself was appointed to a key committee of the U.S. Mint.

[…]

Noe still faces more than four dozen other felony counts in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on allegations that he stole millions of dollars from two rare-coin funds totaling $50 million he managed for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. An August trial has been set in that case.

Noe is the second Bush “Pioneer” to run afoul of the law. The other one is Jack Abramoff.

*HT to Willa Cather. I couldn’t resist.