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Hillary Fundraiser Hsu Wanted For Theft

A real surprise — journalism from the Los Angeles Times:

Democratic fundraiser is a fugitive in plain sight

California authorities have sought businessman Norman Hsu for 15 years. Since 2004, he has carved out a place of honor raising cash for such candidates as Hillary Rodham Clinton.

By Chuck Neubauer and Robin Fields, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

August 29, 2007

WASHINGTON — 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.

“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?”

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.

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.

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. Hsu remembers the episode as part of a settlement with creditors when he also went through bankruptcy, Barcella said…

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

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.

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…

Records show Hsu also solicited funds from three members of a New York family that helps run a plastics packaging plant in Pennsylvania. They have given more than $200,000 in the last three years.

Danny Lee, a manager at the packaging firm, has given $95,000 to federal Democratic campaigns — $19,500 of which went to Clinton. Yu Fen Huang, who shares a New York house with Lee, has given $52,200 to Democrats, $8,800 to Clinton. Soe Lee has contributed $54,000 to Democrats, $8,800 to Clinton…

Over the 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.

Hsu pleaded no contest to one grand theft charge and agreed to accept up to three years in prison. He disappeared, Smetana said, after failing to show up for a sentencing hearing. Bench warrants were issued for his arrest but he was never found, Smetana said. 

It sure sounds like the authorities didn’t look very hard for him Mr. Hsu. As the article notes, his doings for the DNC were in all the papers for the last three years.

One suspects he had a powerful protector or two.

Barcella said his client did not remember pleading to a criminal charge and facing the prospect of jail time.

It certainly sounds like the Clintons are giving him legal advice. He sure sounds like their type of guy.

Kudos to the Los Angles Times for running this story, despite their Democrat bosses.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, August 29th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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