Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hillary's Fugitive Fundraiser

The Los Angeles Times reports California authorities have been trying Norman Hsu for 15 years. Hsu "pleaded no contest to grand theft, agreed to serve up to three years in prison and then seemed to vanish:

"He is a fugitive," Ronald Smetana, who handled the case for the state attorney general, said in an interview. "Do you know where he is?"
According to the Times, Hsu has been hiding in plain sight:
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.
Hsu earned a place in the Clinton campaign's "HillRaiser" group by pledging to raise more than $100,000 for her presidential bid.

Tuesday The Wall Street Journal reported Clinton campaign spokesman, Howard Wolfson, said in an email:
Norman Hsu is a longtime and generous supporter of the Democratic party and its candidates, including Senator Clinton. 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.
But Kent Cooper, a former disclosure official with the Federal Election Commission, sees it differently. According to Cooper, the two-year pattern of donations justifies a probe of possible violations of campaign-finance law, which forbid one person from reimbursing another to make contributions:
"There are red lights all over this one," Mr. Cooper said
.The Times makes it clear that this isn't a case of mistaken identity:
On Tuesday, E. Lawrence Barcella Jr. -- a Washington lawyer who represents the Democratic fundraiser -- confirmed that Hsu was the same man who was involved in the California case. Barcella said his client did not remember pleading to a criminal charge and facing the prospect of jail time.
I'm sorry, does anyone truly believe Hsu would forget the possibility of going to jail? Nor am I impressed with attorney Barcella implication that Hsu is being picked on because of his "name." Yesterday's Wall Street Journal quoted Barcella:
You are barking up the wrong tree. There is no factual support for this story and if Mr. Hsu's name was Smith or Jones, I don't believe it would be a story.
Attorney Barcella doth protest too much. Hsu's attorney acknoewledged Hsu's California legal troubles. I'm inclined to think where there is smoke there is fire.

It's not just Hillary who is connected to Hsu. He is also coonected to Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell; New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine; Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy; California Sen. Dianne Feinstein; Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, California Rep. Mike Honda; and Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island

Hillary and the rest of the money hungry Democrats should be distancing themselves from such questionable folks, not singing Hsu's praises as Hillary campaign spokesman Wolfson did yesterday.

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