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Clinton Camp: Secret Service Doesn’t Vet Donors

From the ever-vigilant CNSNews:

Clinton Campaign Denies Secret Service Vetting of Fugitive Donor

By Fred Lucas
September 14, 2007

(CNSNews.com) – After pledging to return $850,000 raised by fugitive fundraiser Norman Hsu, Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign vowed this week to do more rigorous background checks of big donors.

But some law enforcement officials contend the former first lady — or someone close to her — should have known about Hsu’s fugitive status, given the routine background checks conducted by the U.S. Secret Service on protected persons…

“I would absolutely be shocked if the protective intelligence division of the Secret Service was not fully aware of Mr. Hsu’s status as a fugitive,” Carl Rowan, a federal agent with both the FBI and the U.S. Marshalls for a decade, said in an interview…

“It is standard operating procedure to run the names and Social Security numbers of anyone who will be close to the protectee,” Rowan continued. “Besides the safety concerns, the Secret Service works hard to avoid embarrassing situations for the protectee.”

The Clinton campaign dismissed this theory.

“Sorry, you are not correct. The Secret Service did not vet Mr. Hsu,” Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson told Cybercast News Service in a written statement.

Asked why the Secret Service didn’t vet Hsu, Wolfson said in a follow-up statement, “I don’t mean to state the obvious, but she’s not the first lady anymore.”

The U.S. Secret Service would not comment for this story.

However, according to the Secret Service Web site, Public Law 89-186, approved by Congress in 1965, requires the agency to “protect a former president and his/her spouse during their lifetime, unless they decline protection.”

The law was changed in 1997 to protect only former presidents for 10 years after leaving office. But that law applies only to presidents elected after that year, 1997. “Therefore, President Clinton will be the last president to receive lifetime protection,” the Secret Service Web site stated.

“There are all kinds of levels of background checks that would make law enforcement raise their eyebrows,” said Ted Deeds, chief operating officer of the Law Enforcement Alliance of America.

“I’m sure the Secret Service knew he was a wanted felon fugitive. What a scandal it would be if they didn’t warn a president or first lady they were standing next to a convicted felon,” he added.

It’s standard operating procedure to check the Social Security number and date of birth of anyone who is going to be in a room with the president or first lady, Deeds said.

“If the Secret Service did not do the basic due-diligence check, then the questions are even more pointed,” said Deeds. “Who ordered them not to do it and why? Was the Clinton campaign, and by extension the Democrat fundraising machine, so focused on money that they would violate basic security protocol?”

Hsu is not the only big Clinton donor facing legal problems that might be flagged in a background check.

Los Angeles businessman Abdul Rehman Jinah, a Pakistani immigrant, is wanted by federal authorities on charges he channeled $30,000 in illegal contributions to Clinton’s presidential campaign.

He reportedly disappeared after a federal grand jury indicted him for violating federal election laws, according to press reports.

Jinah has also appeared in pictures with Clinton in the media, apparently making it through any vetting or non-vetting conducted in regards to the former first lady. The Clinton campaign said it would give the money raised by Jinah to charity.

Sant S. Chatwal, an Indian-American businessman, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Clinton’s campaign, according to The Washington Post, even while he battles the IRS over $4 million in unpaid taxes, New York state over a $5 million tax lien, and the government of India over a bank fraud charge…

And of course a lot of these donors were raising money for Hillary when she was still merely the first lady.

Indeed, fundraising for Hillary’s Senate campaign was a top priority during Bill and Hillary’s last years in the White House.

So even in the unlikely event that the Secret Service is not expected to vet contributors now, they have no excuse for not vetting them then.

Unless they were ordered to turn a blind eye.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, September 14th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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