Thursday, August 18, 2005 Ohio governor to enter plea in ethics case

Ohio has been a state for 202 years, since 1803. Bob Taft is the first governor of Ohio ever to be charged with a crime, in this case for ethics violations. Think about that for a second. 202 years, no governor related crimes, until today.

Look at this:

Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said the gifts included two golf outings worth $100 each paid for by embattled coin dealer Tom Noe. Noe is a Republican fundraiser whose $50 million investment of state money in rare coins launched the scandal that led to Taft's revelation that he failed to list golf outings on financial disclosure forms.

According to the New York Times, "State officials have accused Mr. Noe of mishandling and possibly stealing millions of dollars from a state workers' compensation fund." Noe is a Toledo coin-dealer and major Republican donor (incl. possible illegal contributions to W), and he can't account for $13 million dollars that he was entrusted to invest. By other criminals, apparently. Times: "Mr. Taft publicly acknowledged in June that he had failed to report dozens of free golf outings and additional gifts from Mr. Noe and others."

What a joke, time to go fellas. I should note that the Toledo Blade has had the best coverage of this story by far, but their site is too busy from this story right now to post from there.


Anonymous said...

Certainly, and I'm presuming that Mr. Noe is guilty, this one donor is a scoudrel but don't see how his illegally gotten gains should bloat this post, besides a desire to sensationalize.

But this is not to excuse Gov. Taft's behavior. It is wrong and should be fully enforced to the extent of the law. I simply think you've let your personal opinions swell the importance of this story. But again, this is your blog, not a news article. Keep blogging as your heart desires!

I will state for the record, though, I think most politicians are power-hungry creeps and I'm not surprised that he was living it up on others' expenses. I am more surprised that he is the first OH governor to get caught!

Sorry for the rant!


Jonathan said...

My suggestion would be to got to and read the accounts for yourself. Taft's pathetic plea-bargain is symptomatic of a systemic illness. You're forgetting that Noe would not have ever been in the position to obtain $50 Million in state funds to invest had he not been a major doner, specifically to the Republicans in power. Taft was at the top of the pyramid, he was friends with Noe, and Noe used his friendship with Taft and other powerful Republicans to misplace (at a minimum) or steal (more likely) millions of dollars that rightfully belongs to the working people of Ohio. This stinks just as much if you are Republican, and it's why Taft's approval rating is less than 20%.

From the Blade: "Gov. Taft exluded 52 golf outings, meals, and hockey tickets worth a
combined $6,000 from his annual financial disclosures with the Ohio
Ethics Commission."

52 outings? Hardly an oversight. He got off easy with a fine. It continues: "The four misdemeanors apply to each year, between 2001 and 2004, that Gov. Taft knowingly submitted incomplete ethics forms."

Hmm..let's see. 4 years, 52 he forgot to report an outing a month for 4 years. Probably an oversight, he was pretty busy.

"The charges are part of the larger probe into Tom Noe, the Republican fund-raiser who controlled a $50 million rare coin investment for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation. "

Oh right, that Noe, the one who threatened to "bloat the post." Sorry to sensationalize.

Anonymous said...

My dear friend,

I think you are mostly arguing a case in which I am not in opposition. I think Gov. Taft is very likely a slime.

You still seem to think of me as a Republican! This I would fight as much as if you called me a Democrat. I think they're both nasty, diseased parties, long since diverged from their fundamentals. They each probably have a handfull of good, honest folk in office that I would like to associate with but those few good souls are surrounded by jerks!

"Bloating the post" had harsher connotations than I intended and I apologize for that, but Mr. Noe's portion played a much larger role in the posting than necessary. While related, I think it was emphasized to criminalize the governor beyond his own direct role.

I think the govenor's own actions damn him plenty without trying to directly associate him with another's criminal activities. As I stated in my first comment, he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Any plea bargain, while common practice for the rest of citizenry when faced with a crime of similar level, should be denied. The governor is faced with 4 charges (presumably 1 for every incorrectly filed annual statement) with a maximum penalty of $1G (pocket change to a man of his position) and 6 months of prison. I say, jail him for 2 years!

But did you see, even though this admitted criminal is still in a position of power, the New York Times article also reports some Democrats think it would be advantageous NOT to impeach him?? It would be one thing if they thought the state needed him still in power, but they seem to reason it will help the Democratic party gain more seats in both state houses and possibly the next governorship if such a famously unpopular Republican governor is still sitting during the next election. Politics, politics, politics. Seems I'm right afterall, both of the parties slimey!

I say throw all Republicans out of office, followed closely by all the Democrats. Let's set up the Greens, Libertarians, America Firsts, Reform Party, Communists, and all. Time to clean house brother! When the Greens and their cohorts start to become inundated with same power-graspers, we can clean house again!

Just a rebel's rant, I guess, but thinking about how to move freight internationally all day dulls the mind a bit and it feels good to exercise the brain on other stuff sometimes. You've got to love a medium that gives readership to everyone's ideas!

Thanks for the dialogue,


Jonathan said...

Paul, I understand you are too much a wild stallion, yearning to break free, to be bound to allegience to a conventional political party.

I have to disagree with your analysis of my argument though. My main thrust, that Noe's corruption is intrinsically linked to the governor's, is supported by the evidence. You can agree or disagree, but I think the Blade's investigation supports this theory. It just happens that in addition to enabling Noe to abscond with the loot, Taft is probably also in bed with a bunch of other crooks he did not see fit to report gifts from on his ethics reports.

Are Dems guilty of this too? I'm sure. That's why our airport terminals in Detroit are named after live politicians instead of deceased notables. My point is just that in this instance these two scandals are linked.

For the record, I think Taft should resign.