Thursday, November 17, 2005

 

Missing Noe contributors [Updated]

Some folks have emailed us questioning why we think there are more "conduits" involved than the 13 named in recent stories about the recent DOJ affidavit. At least one commentor has also objected to us mentioning some of the people in our speculative list of conduits.

First, we want to emphasize, again, that this list is only our best guess, but there was some logic behind it that we believe still applies.

It is important to begin by referencing two facts. The affidavit, drawn up in April, refers to $31,100 in allegedly illegal contributions. However, the more recent indictment upped the amount:
Tom Noe, whose failed rare-coin deal with the state has triggered multiple investigations and rocked Ohio’s Republican leadership, was charged yesterday with illegally funneling $45,400 to President Bush’s re-election campaign.
In other words, there is appoximately $14,300 in conduit mischief that is still unaccounted for. That equates to roughly 7 or 8 other conduits yet to be identified.

Let's add another piece to the puzzle. Both the Dispatch and the Blade reporters indicated that 24 people were involved with the scheme. At least 16 people have been linked to the $31,100 (13 primary conduits plus 3 spouses - Denise Swy, Joe Perz and Corrine Mann). Again, this mathematical exercise leaves about 8 missing names.

[Update #1 - actually, we just remembered that the indictment, itself, mentions the existence of 24 conduits.]

The defense that only 13 are involved because only 13 were named in the affidavit or have been called before the grand jury doesn't hold. There is no requirement for all 24 to be brought in. We've been led to believe that the conduits who testified were the ones necessary for prosecutor Greg White to make his case about Noe and possibly others.

We'd also like to note a small matter where we'd take issue with some of the reporting on the conduits. This is probably just simply a little bit of sloppy work, but most reporters have implied - if not actually reported - that each conduit made contributions of approximately $2,000. But, in the situation involving Phillip and Denise Swy, the OpenSecrets.org database indicates they each only gave $1,000.

Again the math suggests that could mean 22 people gave about $2,000 each and two people gave about $1,000 each. If, on the other hand, reporters are confident that 23 people gave $2,000, then we are really talking about 25 conduits. Thus, our list included 25 names.

[Update #2 - at the risk of belaboring the above point, let us add a little bit more. As has been acknowledged, Noe apparently thought he could disguise some of the transactions by shaving some of them to be less than $2,000 per person. Had he made each exactly $2,000 then the total he was trying to launder was $48,000 or enough for 24 $2,000 donors. But, as we noted, if two people only gave $1,000 each then the number of conduits must be 25. Then, again, the prosecutor has a better research staff than we do, plus they know many things we don't, so for the time being, we will defer to their claim of 24 conduits.]

Now who the remaining 8 are is somewhat of a guessing game - but within a finite universe. A simple check of the contributions database during the period only produces a very limited number of other donors in the $1,000 to $2,000 range. A very limited number.

We are more than willing to scratch names off our list but we are only going to give serious consideration to proposals that contain replacement names. Remember, the total still has to add up to 24 or 25.

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