A bit more serious than Senator Larry Craig’s public bathroom habits—but far more entertaining--is the fact that one of Senator Hillary Clinton’s major fundraisers for her 2008 presidential campaign turns out to be a fugitive from justice.
For the last 15 years, California authorities have been trying to figure out what happened to a businessman named Norman Hsu, who pleaded no contest to grand theft, agreed to serve up to three years in prison and then seemed to vanish. [SNIP]
Hsu, it seems, has been hiding in plain sight, at least for the last three years.
Since 2004, one Norman Hsu has been carving out a prominent place of honor among Democratic fundraisers. He has funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions into party coffers, much of it earmarked for presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.
Apparently, California authorities weren’t looking too hard for a man who is, admittedly, not public enemy number one, but sheesh! During his time as a “desperado,” Mr. Hsu has been making himself useful to Democrat candidates nationwide.
In addition to making his own contributions, Hsu has honed the practice of assembling packets of checks from contributors who bear little resemblance to the usual Democratic deep pockets: A self-described apparel executive with a variety of business interests, Hsu has focused on delivering hefty contributions from citizens who live modest lives and are neophytes in the world of campaign giving. [SNIP]The W$J link contains the individual Paw family contributors, along with amounts, dates and the very many local and national recipients. "Suffice it to say, the list is extensive."
As a Democratic rainmaker, Hsu -- who graduated from UC Berkeley and the Wharton School of Business -- is credited with donating nearly $500,000 to national and local party candidates and their political committees in the last three years. He earned a place in the Clinton campaign's "HillRaiser" group by pledging to raise more than $100,000 for her presidential bid.
Records show that Hsu helped raise an additional $500,000 from other sources for Clinton and other Democrats. [SNIP]
Records show that Hsu has emerged as one of the Democrats' most successful "bundlers," rounding up groups of contributors and packaging their checks together before delivering the funds to campaign officials. Individuals can give a total of $4,600 to a single candidate during an election cycle, $2,300 for the primaries and $2,300 for the general election.
One example of the kind of first-time donors Hsu has worked with is the Paw family of Daly City, Calif., which is headed by William Paw, a mail carrier, and his wife, Alice, who is listed as a homemaker.
The Paws -- seven adults, most of whom live together in a small house near San Francisco International Airport -- apparently had never donated to national candidates until 2004. Over a three-year period, they gave $213,000, including $55,000 to Clinton and $14,000 to candidates for state-level offices in New York [W$J].
The family includes a son, Winkle Paw, who Barcella said was in business with Hsu. Another son works for a Bay Area school board, while one daughter works for a hospital and another for a computer company. [SNIP](Emphasis mine.)
Over the [three] years, Hsu and his associates have given to Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Barack Obama of Illinois and Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware. Obama and Biden, like Clinton, are seeking the presidential nomination.
Hsu's legal troubles date back almost 20 years.
Beginning in 1989, court records show, he began raising what added up to more than $1 million from investors, purportedly to buy latex gloves; investors were told Hsu had a contract to resell the gloves to a major American business.
In 1991, Hsu was charged with grand theft. Prosecutors said there were no latex gloves and no contract to sell them.
When I first heard a detailed report about Mr. Hsu's "bundler" role (this morning), my first response was that the Democrats had nearly perfected a way to avoid the soft money restrictions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 aka McCain-Feingold--by making it appear that the many small donations came from this family. If this is so, the Democrats may have picked the perfect man to get around this--arguably unconstitutional--law. (Isn't this part of the reason that that there was so much bipartisan opposition to BCRA in the first place?)
One wonders whether Mr. Hsu has been protected from arrest over these few years of his making rain.
Our “betters”—Republican and Democrat—are no better than us. But we knew that.
(Thanks to Sweetness and Light, who is astonished that this story appeared in the Los Angeles Times)
UPDATE: Some Democrat candidates intend to away the tainted monies:
Al Franken, a Senate candidate in Minnesota, Rep. Michael Honda of California and Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania said they would divest their campaigns of donations from Norman Hsu, whose legal encounters and links to other Democratic donors have drawn public scrutiny in the past two days. Franken's campaign received $2,300 from Hsu and Sestak and Honda each received $1,000 for their re-election efforts.The bigger boys and girls are less quick on the draw.
The Clinton campaign did not immediately comment on Hsu's legal situation. But in a statement issued Tuesday, the campaign defended Hsu in response to the Journal report about a San Francisco family whose contribution patterns tracked Hsu's.(Thanks to Lucianne)
"Norman Hsu is a longtime and generous supporter of the Democratic Party and its candidates, including Senator Clinton," Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said in a statement Tuesday. "During Mr. Hsu's many years of active participation in the political process, there has been no question about his integrity or his commitment to playing by the rules, and we have absolutely no reason to call his contributions into question or to return them."
UPDATE: Clinton follows suit.
WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will give to charity the $23,000 in donations that she has received from a fundraiser who is wanted in California for failing to appear for sentencing on a 1991 grand theft charge.I bet that hurt.
Now, where is Mr. Hsu again?
(Thanks to Hot Air)
UPDATE: Hsu turns himself in.
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu, who had been a fugitive from a 1992 grand larceny case, was briefly jailed today [August 31] before posting bail.
Superior Court Judge H. James Ellis this morning ordered Hsu held and ordered bail set at $2 million. [SNIP]
Hsu appeared at the San Mateo County courthouse before 8 a.m., more than 45 minutes early. Having suddenly found himself front-page news, he has retained attorney James Brosnahan of the blue-chip San Francisco law firm Morrison & Foerster and the Los Angeles-based public relations firm headed by Michael Sitrick.
As Hsu waited in the hallway for the hearing to begin, he huddled with an attorney and spokesman Jason Booth. They declined to comment. Hsu spoke on his cellphone and chewed his fingernails.