Schwarzenegger: Options unknown
The California governor is the only known official to return money to Tom Noe.
TOLEDO (AP) -- Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't realize that he could have returned a contribution from Toledo-area coin dealer Tom Noe to anyone other than Noe when he decided he didn't want it, a spokesman for the California governor said.
Schwarzenegger returned $10,000 to Noe, the central figure in an ongoing investigation into the state's $50 million investment in rare coins.
Several other political figures, including President Bush, gave funds from Noe to charity or filtered them to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
"Had we known about other options, we may have made a different choice, but that's hindsight," Marty Wilson, the governor's spokesman, said Friday. "The fact is the money has gone out."
State Sen. Marc Dann, a Democrat from Liberty, called in July for politicians to give any Noe contributions to the bureau. Schwarzenegger returned his contribution in June, but Dann said that was no excuse.
"It's money that clearly wasn't his money to begin with, and Gov. Schwarzenegger knew it," he said.
Dann suggested the California governor give another $10,000 to the BWC, the state's insurance fund for injured workers.
"If he wanted to contribute to Tom Noe's defense fund, that's up to him," Dann said.
Noe was in charge of the BWC's rare coin investment and now is facing accusations that he stole as much as $4 million of the $13 million he has acknowledged is missing from the fund.
Noe gave money to three politicians seeking the Republican nomination in Ohio's 2006 gubernatorial race. Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell redirected his contribution to the Pregnancy Decision Health Centers in Columbus. Attorney General Jim Petro donated his to Ohio's Elections Commission. Auditor Betty Montgomery put her money into an escrow account the BWC set up after the funds went missing.
Bush redirected the $4,000 Noe personally donated to him to the American Heart Association's "Go Red for Women" campaign. He has not said he will do the same with money Noe raised for his re-election.
Noe earned a coveted spot as a Bush fund raiser after collecting more than $100,000 for the president's camp.
Questions about the state's investment in rare coins have ballooned into a scandal involving $300 million in investment losses, state and federal investigations into state financial policies and ethics violations by Gov. Bob Taft involving golf outings he failed to disclose.