Update: Hillary unloads Hsu’s money, but not the stain…
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will give to charity the $23,000 in donations she has received from a fundraiser who is wanted in California for failing to appear for sentencing on a 1991 grand theft charge.
The decision came Wednesday as other Democrats began distancing themselves from Norman Hsu, whose legal encounters and links to other Democratic donors have drawn public scrutiny in the past two days.
Al Franken, a Senate candidate in Minnesota, Reps. Michael Honda and Doris Matsui of California and Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania said they would divest their campaigns of Hsu’s donations.
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.
Allah mulled over the http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118826947048110677.html”>WSJ piece about Hsu’s Daly City address yesterday. In that piece, the Clinton campaign defended Hsu thusly:
A 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.”
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