The federal side is more interesting.
The Ohio Coingate timeline.
The bottom line, according to The Toledo Blade
is "The Blade has learned that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio knew of the campaign-finance allegations against Mr. Noe about three weeks before the November, 2004, election, giving it little time to do a thorough investigation."
January, 2004: Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates, a Democrat interviewed Mr. Noe's wife and Sam Thurber regarding complaints about Joe Kidd, then executive director of the elections office.
March, 2004: Frank Stiles, an investigator who works for Ms. Bates, began examining the allegations.
June 1, 2004: Kidd appeared as a witness before a federal
grand jury in Toledo investigating Mr. Noe. Also testifying were Bush contributors Toledo Mayor Donna Owens, Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber, Toledo Councilman Betty Shultz, and former state Rep. Sally Perz.
September, 2004: A county
grand jury obtained information via subpoena that made it clear there would be no prosecution of the allegation by Mrs. Noe and Mr. Thurber against Kidd. So, according to Bates, the investigation turned to Mr. Noe. Another subpoena was issued to pursue Kidd's counterallegation.
September 29th, 2004: The subpoena was answered and contained information suggesting violation of federal
laws by Noe. But Stiles was on vacation.
October 12, 2004: Stiles returns from vacation, and immediately goes to Bates with a request that this be referred to the US attorney, David Bauer.
October 13th, 2004: Bates meets with U.S. assistant DA Bauer and assistant DAs, plus FBI agents. Due to a contact from Bauer, the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. DoJ opens an investigation.
October 15th, 2004: Lucas County prosecutor's files turned over to the FBI.
I think it's a hard to make the case that state
officials stalled this. County officials were responsible for some delays, but these would not be unusual. The question to me is why the federal grand jury dropped the ball. Why is the US Attorney learning just two weeks before the election of an investigation by a Grand Jury in his territory?