Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Four more plead in Noe case

Four present and former public officials from northwest Ohio just pleaded no contest in the Tom Noe campaign donation laundering case.

One of them was S.O.B. member Maggie Thurber, a Lucas County commissioner.

I just sent her this email:

I was wondering if you would be posting something on your no contest plea in the Noe campaign donation laundering case today. I and many others would very much like to learn your thoughts on this issue.

I am not a constituent, only a concerned Ohioan and a conservative opinion writer. However, I have always taken the position that public officials should resign after convictions on ethics charges, crimes related to the office or any felony. I hope you recognize your mistake and seek to earn back the trust of the public by stepping down as commissioner.

I also want to stress this opinion is mine alone, and is related only to your position as an official sworn to uphold Ohio law. You also happen to be a blogger, and I welcome and encourage your continued writing on issues close to your heart. I will gladly continue to include any posts you may submit for the Carnival of Ohio Politics.

Paul A. Miller

According to reports, about 20 local officials, party leaders and other politically active men and women in Northwest Ohio were involved in Noe's scheme to funnel something like $50,000 into the Bush campaign in '04. A handful of those "conduits" have not been named, and I have gotten some strong hints as to who those folks are. The allegations are serious enough that I don't plan to release those names until I've gotten something very solid - but I am in pursuit.

It's a shame people felt either pressured by Noe or caught up in the "glamour" of being major contributors to the Bush campaign. Bush certainly didn't need funds so badly that illegal avenues were "the only way." What's more, several of the "conduits" are wealthy political patrons who simply shifted their own inevitable $2,000 donation to other races. These kinds of shenanigans give a black eye to the hardworking volunteers, campaign workers and donors who follow the law. They also tarnish the good name of the candidate who almost never even knows about the illegal scheming which has gone on.

I don't particularly care for our campaign finance laws. Political speech should be close to inviolate, yet we are tying it down in red tape more and more each cycle. Nevertheless, the law of the land stands, and should be followed by all until it is corrected.


Maggie Thurber said...

In reply to your email...

My attorneys continue to advise me to have no comment on these issues and I continue to follow their advice.

I won't be able to make a public comment for quite some time, and that includes to my blog. But I look forward to the day when I can talk about the facts of the case.

In the meantime, as I had decided last December not to see re-election, I have only six months left in my term and I will serve until then.

Steven J. Kelso Sr. said...

A respectable position.

Joab said...

I have two asides not specifically related to Maggie.

1. Toledo and Lucas County are horribly political

2. I once got into a raised-voice argument with Tom Noe while at work. At the time he was a trustee at the university, so I let discretion be the better part of valor.

save_the_rustbelt said...

"...A respectable position...."

No, it is not. She should resign.

The others should resign. Tom Noe should be in jail pending trial rather than Florida.

My family has invested many generations in this state and many in the Ohio Republican Party, and I am not happy the ORP has been turned into a financial whore house.

Integrity calls for immediate resignation. Don't hold your breath.

Matt Hurley said...

Intellectual honesty compels me to agree with STR. I was furious, and still am, that Bob Taft didn't do the right thing and resign after his debacle. This sort of thing is what is wrong with the ORP and I've had my fill of it. I'm also one of those people who thinks that local government is important and that competence matters at all levels of government. A competent official would have known that Noe's scheme was illegal, or at least unethical, and wouldn't have participated in it. Sometimes good people do bad things; when they do, I think they should be held accountable. Some might say that the fine is enough...I'm not so sure. I expect more from our leaders.

Was Maggie given bad information? Was she led astray? I don't know, and I suspect we won't know until she can talk about it. But I do think she should step down from her position as soon as possible.

thinkingwoman said...

Matt I completely agree local government is important and competence matters. It just seems our view is not necessarily shared by the majority of the electorate. Lucas Co is governed by a woman who is very nice but doesn't understand the phrase follow through, a man whose favorite word (and weapon) is "entitlement" and Maggie who I have found exceedingly competent. Commissioners 1 and 2 have stated there is no need to hear her because they are the majority and she is irrelevant.

I do not pretend to know how all the facts will bear out on MT's possible lack of judgement. What I do know is competence and poor judgement are entirely different things.