A GOP fundraiser was convicted of stealing from a state investment in rare coins, a scandal that helped sink ruling Republicans two years after Ohio handed President Bush a second term.

Tom Noe, a former Republican fundraiser, has pleaded not guilty to charges of theft, money laundering, forgery and corrupt activity. He walked into the courthouse holding hands with his wife, Bernadette.

The scandal surrounding the investment became a political liability for the GOP, which lost all but one of the statewide, nonjudicial offices up for election Tuesday.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation gave Noe $25 million in 1998, followed by another $25 million in 2001 to invest in rare coins.

Prosecutors say Noe, 52, took some of the state's money to pay off business loans and live a lavish lifestyle. Defense attorneys say Noe had permission from the bureau to invest the money and that the coin fund produced $7.9 million in profits over seven years.