Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Where in the World is Norman Hsu?

Have you seen this man?

Norman Hsu, the Chinese-American businessman who served as Hillary Clinton's latest, shady campaign "bundler" failed to show up for a bail hearing in California today (surprise, surprise), and according to the AP, a judge has issued a new warrant for his arrest.

Hsu's fugitive status--he never served jail time after pleading no contest to grand theft conviction in the early 1990s--came to light after the Wall Street Journal highlighted correlations between his contributions to Mrs. Clinton and those of the Paw clan, a middle-class Chinese family in the San Francisco area. Despite modest means, the family gave the maximum amount of money (more than $200,000) to the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign since 2005.

A Los Angeles Times article subsequently identified Hsu as a fugitive, stemming from his efforts to bilk investors in a $1 million latex glove resale operation. Mr. Hsu was facing up to three years in prison when he failed to show up for sentencing more than a decade ago.

But despite his criminal past, Hsu emerged as a major Democratic fund-raiser in recent years, bundling his contributions with those of other donors, including the Paws. Both Hsu and the Paws have denied any wrong-doing, and the Clinton campaign "gave" their money to charity when confronted with the fund-raiser's criminal past (more on that contribution in a moment).

By skipping today's hearing, Hsu forfeits $2 million in bail that he posted last week. Mr. Hsu's lawyer says he "doesn't know" where his client is. We can't offer a precise location, but a good place to begin the search is China. After all, it's the refuge of choice for Clinton contributors caught in criminal or questionable activities. Following the Clinton donor scandal in 1996, scores of Chinese "contributors" fled the country to avoid indictment, or testimony before Congressional committees.

Put another way: we'd be greatly surprised if Mr. Hsu wasn't in China. He's a native of Hong Kong, and reportedly fled there after his fraud conviction in 1992, before resurfacing in New York as a major campaign fund-raiser for the Democratic Party.

Obviously, someone who's willing to forfeit $2 million in bail is worried about more than a three-year stretch in a minimum-security prison. As Ed Morrissey noted last Friday, the questions about Hsu and his campaign "bundling" extend well beyond the recent contributions to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Eliot Spitzer, and other Democratic luminaries. When The New York Times tried to track down Hsu's various apparel businesses, they found private residences where "employees" said they had never heard of Mr. Hsu, or that he moved years ago. As Morrissey observes, Hsu's enterprises appear to be shams, but the money he threw around was very, very real. Where did it come from?

At this point, an equally salient question is why wasn't Hsu required to surrender his passport when he surrendered to authorities last week? According to the Times, Mr. Hsu was supposed to turn it in today, but when his attorney sent an assistant to retrieve the passport, it couldn't be found. Asked by reporters of Hsu had fled the country, his attorney James Brosnahan, said "I would imagine he has the capability."

While the authorities search for Mr. Hsu (good luck with that arrest warrant), the size of the scandal continues to grow. New York blogger Flip Pidot, doing the job of the MSM, has been tabulating the expanse of Hsu's largesse, and it's considerable. Using federal, state and local databases, he's uncovered a total of $1.6 million in donations from Mr. Hsu to Democratic politicians.

And not surprisingly, the amount of money "returned," by the Democrats or "given to charity" is only a fraction of what they've received. For example, the Clinton campaign touted its return of a $23,000 check that Hillary received directly from Mr. Hsu, but they're "keeping" another $152,000 from his associates.

Imagine that.

1 comment:

Ronbo said...

Excellent article!

Posted a link to it from my blog

Thank you for doing the job the MSM won't do.

Cheers, Ronbo