Hsu, fly, don’t bother me Update: Ed Rendell ditches the money, keeps the “friend;” Update Chris Dodd smacks Hillary Update: Wisconsin Democrat guv shows Hsu the love
Update 4:30pm Eastern: Wisconsin’s Democrat governor is standing by Hsu…
Even though Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu remains a fugitive from justice, Democratic Governor Jim Doyle is not parting with the $2,000 in donations he got from the New York businessman. Doyle says he is monitoring the situation with Hsu to see if there was anything wrong with the contribution received in 2005. Doyle says he doesn’t know “one way or the other” whether the allegations against Hsu are true.
Update 2:50pm Eastern. Via Christina Bellatoni at the WashTimes, Democrat Chris Dodd draws first blood on the left side of the aisle:
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) just sent out his “campaign policy on money raised by fugitives from justice,” a dig at Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.). “I understand that it is simply impossible for a presidential campaign to know everything about its donors and raisers, however once criminal activity of this sort – being a fugitive from justice – comes to the candidate’s attention they certainly should not keep the money linked to those criminals. Indeed, all money raised by a fugitive from justice is irreparably tainted,” Dodd said in a statement…Clinton is giving the $23,000 Hsu donated to her presidential bid to charity, but has not said if she will return the cash he brought in to the campaign as a “Hillraiser” who bundled checks. That’s what Dodd seems to be criticizing with his statement, which also noted: “It is the policy of my campaign to refuse to accept or possess campaign contributions raised, solicited, or delivered by fugitives from justice.” He didn’t directly call for Clinton to give back the cash, but you get the picture.
Update 2:40pm Eastern. Ed Rendell has decided to bail on the bail hearing-skipper/fugitive bagman who was just last week one of the 10 best people he has known. But he is still Hsu’s “friend” and “remains so:”
Gov. Ed Rendell said Thursday he has decided to donate to charity the nearly $40,000 he received from a disgraced Democratic fundraiser who failed to show up for a California court hearing.
Rendell had said last week he planned to keep the money he received from Norman Hsu, who had failed to appear for sentencing on a 1991 grand theft charge, but would return it if California prosecutors won a “sustainable conviction” in the case.
On Wednesday, Hsu skipped a bail hearing.
“Though Norman is my friend, and remains so, his failure to appear casts a new light on his assertions regarding the original case,” Rendell said in a statement. “As a result, I will follow other elected officials and donate the money he contributed to me to charity.”
After learning that Norman Hsu failed to appear in a California court on 15-year-old fraud allegations, Governor Rendell today said that he is disappointed in Hsu’s actions and that he will donate Hsu’s campaign contributions to charity.
“Though Norman is my friend, and remains so, his failure to appear casts a new light on his assertions regarding the original case,” Governor Rendell said. “As a result, I will follow other elected officials and donate the money he contributed to me to charity.
“It was never about the money,” the Governor said. “It’s about standing up for one of the principles of our judicial system — that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“The media feeding frenzy around Norman is likely to continue, but I intend to focus now on the tremendous amount of work we have to complete in Harrisburg this fall for the people of Pennsylvania.”
Eleven public officials in New Jersey were arrested Thursday in a widespread FBI corruption investigation, officials said. Among those charged were two state assemblymen, the mayor and council members in the city of Passaic, and local Board of Education officials from southern parts of the state. Investigators said the officials were demanding and taking cash bribes in exchange for official favors and help in awarding government contracts…NewsChannel 4’s cameras were in place as the suspects were arrested, including Passaic Mayor Sammy Rivera and Orange Mayor and State Assemblyman Mims Hackett. The early morning arrests also included numerous current and former Board of Education officials from Pleasantville. Current board President James Pressley, board member Rafeal Velez and former board members Jayson Adams, James McCormick and Pete Callaway were charged. Callaway is currently serving as a member of the Pleasantville City Council….Sources told WNBC.com that several of the officials were allegedly caught in a sting operation accepting payoffs from undercover agents. Officials said the officials took bribes to steer insurance contracts for schools and municipalities. The officials charged serve in at least three counties including Essex, Atlantic and Passaic.
I grew up in Atlantic County. Let’s just say I’m not surprised.
Some of the leading Dems who’ve taken fugitive-former fugitive-fugitive Norman Hsu’s money can’t decide what to do. Looks like Pennsylvania’s Democrat governor Ed Rendell may need some public feedback to help him make up his mind:
Disgraced Democratic fund-raiser Norman Hsu, who was wanted by California authorities for the last 15 years, is once again on the lam, putting Gov. Rendell, a staunch supporter, in an increasingly awkward political corner.
And for now, Rendell isn’t saying whether he will reverse his decision and return nearly $38,000 in contributions from Hsu or continue to stand by the man he recently called “one of the best 10 people I’ve met.”
Press secretary Chuck Ardo said the governor had no immediate comment on Hsu’s disappearance.
“The governor will respond to today’s events after having time to review them,” Ardo said, adding only that Rendell likely would address the matter sometime today.
Hsu, who had raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for top Democratic candidates nationwide, including presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, failed to appear yesterday morning at a bail-reduction hearing in a California courtroom.
San Mateo Superior Court Judge Robert Foiles ordered Hsu’s $2 million bail forfeited and issued a new arrest warrant. If Hsu is arrested again, he will be jailed without bail.
Hsu pleaded no contest in 1991 to a felony count of grand theft, admitting he had defrauded investors of $1 million after falsely claiming to have contracts to purchase and sell latex gloves. He was facing up to three years in prison when he skipped town before his 1992 sentencing date.
For the time being, Rendell remains one of the few politicians across the nation who have decided to keep campaign contributions from Hsu.
Rendell took $37,866 from Hsu during 2005 and 2006. Here’s what Rendell said about Hsu last week:
“I want to hear him out; I don’t want to be one of the guys to pile on,” Rendell said last Thursday.
“Norman Hsu’s one of the best 10 people I’ve met. He raised money for me because he believes in all the things we’re doing and he never asked for a bloody thing – not a job, not a contract, not to attend a wedding.”
The next day, the governor said: “I think this whole thing stinks. If this conviction stands I will give the money back, but this idea of making him out to be some sort of major criminal is absurd.”
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Top ten most important questions to ask about the Hsu scandal:
10. Where did Hsu’s money come from?
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Gumshoe (or should I say, Gum-Hsu) investigative blogger Flip Pidot headed over to Hsu’s NYC apartment yesterday and concludes after his visit: “We’ll never hear from Norman Hsu again.” And here’s Flip’s corrupt-o-meter comparison of dirty money:
You won’t see that in the NYTimes.
Ed Morrissey lambastes the clueless California AG who didn’t consider fugitive Norman Hsu, who had evaded the law for 15 years, a flight risk:
How many other people who flee their sentencing and get recaptured get granted bail? Does California routinely let people post bond after having run out on it before? The Times doesn’t ask those questions, and neither does their West Coast counterpart, the Los Angeles Times. Investigative journalists interested in how Hsu got sprung from custody might want to start asking those questions as well as how Hsu got his $2 million bail bond in the first place — because what bondsman would consider him an acceptable risk?
Jim Hoft spotlights fishy Hsu lawyer stories.
Bill Hobbs tracks dirty Hsu money in Tennessee.
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