GOP Donor Pleads Not Guilty to Campaign Contribution Violations

A coin dealer and major GOP (search) donor who has been caught up in a state government scandal pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he illegally funneled donations to President Bush's re-election campaign.

Tom Noe (search), 51, is accused of exceeding federal limits on campaign contributions by writing checks to friends and associates who then wrote their own checks to the Bush campaign (search).

He remains free on $350,000 bond. Neither Noe nor his attorney spoke to reporters as they left the courthouse.

Noe has been living at his home in Florida and turned himself in to authorities there on Friday. U.S. District Judge David Katz said he is allowed to travel between Ohio and Florida.

A federal grand jury indicted the Toledo-area coin dealer for exceeding federal campaign limits, "knowingly and willfully" using others to make the contributions and causing the Bush campaign to file a false campaign finance statement. He is the only person charged in the case.

Noe is also under investigation over a $50 million investment in rare coins he managed for the state workers' compensation fund. He has acknowledged that up to $13 million is missing. No charges have yet been filed in the case, but Ohio's attorney general has accused Noe of stealing as much as $6 million.