01 August 2005

Ms. Noe's own scandal: Wife of Ohio GOP fundraiser
does some election reform of her own


In yet another surreal twist in Ohio’s “coin-gate” scandal, the wife of Bush’s chief Ohio fundraiser, Tom Noe—who is currently embroiled in campaign finance and money laundering probes—surprised poll workers and observers alike by disrupting the ballot count during the 2004 general election, RAW STORY has discovered.

Bernadette Noe, who served dual roles as chairman for the Lucas County Republican Party and the Lucas County Board of Elections, sent twelve “partisans” into a warehouse on Election Day, according a memo authored by Ohio’s Director of Campaign Finance Richard Weghorst who was present at the time.

[...] The Board was “directly responsible for the inefficient and unorganized election process” in the county, the report said. Weghorst found they had failed to lock and secure ballots and voting machines; manipulated the three percent hand recount; and failed to properly remove Ralph Nader from county ballots.

[...] A Diebold employee, Robert Diekmann, was also present at the warehouse that night.

Ms. Noe was an advocate of Diebold’s optical scan software as chair of the Lucas County Board of Elections. In April 2004, she and another fellow Republican board member voted to approve a $350,000 contract with Diebold to lease machines for the election. The county was forced the lease the equipment after a deadlock and a rebuke from Blackwell.

[...] The contract was no-bid. After Democrats on the board revealed a cheaper bid from another company, the Lucas County board was forced to open the contract for bidding, over Ms. Noe’s objections.

The contract was eventually awarded to Diebold.

[...] Bernadette Noe resigned from the Lucas County Republican Party and from her position as head of the Board of Elections in December, saying she wanted to spend more time with her family.

In April, the Toledo Blade reported Ms. Noe acted improperly as chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party in accepting $65,000 in loans for the party from her husband. She is also involved in a scandal surrounding an aide to Ohio governor Bob Taft (R) staying for a reduced rate at her vacation home.

Bernadette Noe is married to the now-infamous Tom Noe, who invested millions of dollars of state funds into rare coins and who is currently the target of a wide-ranging inquiry. Noe, a Bush Pioneer, also allegedly laundered money into President Bush’s reelection campaign by paying others to donate.

Tom Noe, the owner of several shady business ventures, including Vintage Coins and Collectibles, funneled an estimated fifty million dollars into his own personal and business accounts as well as to the state’s GOP candidates. Noe’s rare coin venture came at the expense of The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, for whom he acted as the sole fund manager.

The Noe coin scandal has widened to include investigations into Taft as well as other GOP candidates from across the state, including several Ohio Supreme Court justices.


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