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OH: Republican Mole at Toledo Blade Spiked Coingate in Jan 2004

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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-06-05 09:50 AM
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OH: Republican Mole at Toledo Blade Spiked Coingate in Jan 2004
That's the charge leveled by Salon. They point out that weasel Fritz Wenzel received information about the devastating scandal, one that's drive Republicans to the ground since The Blade broke in in March-April 2005. Salon asks the pertinent question, had this been broken by Wenzel in January 2004, could Bush have won Ohio, even with all the election irregularities? Great question, great article by Salon.


Saving Ohio
Did a reporter with GOP ties suppress a story that could have cost Bush the White House?


http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2005/10/06/ohio/print...

By Bill Frogameni
Oct. 06, 2005 | In April 2005, the Blade newspaper of Toledo, Ohio, began publishing a remarkable series of articles about a well-connected Republican donor, Tom Noe, chair of the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign for Lucas County, which encompasses Toledo. The Blade, which had won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting in 2004, discovered that Noe, a Toledo coin dealer, was investing $50 million for the state through the novel practice of coin speculation: buying and selling rare coins to turn a profit. Noe, the Blade revealed, could not account for $10 million to $13 million in the fund.

The paper also divulged that Noe had been placed under federal investigation for allegedly laundering money -- perhaps state money -- to the Bush campaign. The Blade's initial reports on Noe started a chain reaction of related scandals for Ohio's dominant Republicans. Recently, Gov. Bob Taft pleaded no contest to accepting several gifts from influence peddlers -- including Noe -- without reporting them, as law requires. Noe is currently the subject of 13 investigations.

In November 2004, Lucas County was among the most hotly contested areas in the most hotly contested state. Kerry won the county by 45,000 votes, but George W. Bush went on to win Ohio by less than 120,000 votes, which swung the election for him.
But Bush's reelection may have been made possible by a Blade reporter with close ties to the Republican Party who reportedly knew about Noe's potential campaign violations in early 2004 but suppressed the story.

According to several knowledgeable sources, the Blade's chief political columnist, Fritz Wenzel, was told of Noe's potential campaign violations as early as January 2004. But according to Blade editors, Wenzel never gave the paper the all-important tip in early 2004.

Wenzel says that he heard allegations of Noe's misdeeds only in spring 2004 and that he promptly informed his editors of them.

Wenzel, who worked for years as a GOP political operative in Oregon before the Blade hired him, quit the Blade in May 2005 to take a job as a paid political consultant to Jean Schmidt, the Republican congressional candidate who in August narrowly defeated Democratic challenger (and Iraq war vet) Paul Hackett.

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