September 16, 2007

HSUT FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER: That seems to have been the approach of Hillary’s fundraising staff:

To raise $850,000 for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign in just eight months, Norman Hsu tapped an eclectic group of donors that included wealthy investors in his apparel ventures, hotel shopkeepers, a 96-year-old in a Florida retirement home and an auto-body worker who mistakenly thought he would get a tax break for his political generosity.

The Clinton campaign has not yet released any information about the 260 donors whose contributions it is now refunding because they were credited to the prodigious fundraising of the former fugitive, but a detailed analysis of donors Hsu brought to Clinton shows that he tapped many Asian American donors in California and New York, including complete strangers as well as his relatives. He also raised political funds from people who had already invested large sums in his private business ventures.

As a fundraising bundler for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign, Norman Hsu collected donations from others. Some of the donors whose checks were credited under Hsu’s name said they had never met him.

Some donors among the nearly 100 identified this week said they never met Hsu and did not know that their donations had been credited to his fundraising. Others had trouble explaining why they gave the funds to Clinton or could not recall the circumstances in which they met Hsu. . . . The case of the mysterious bundler has become a major embarrassment for Clinton and an echo of the campaign finance scandals that surrounded her husband’s presidency in the 1990s. The campaign’s decision to return the money associated with Hsu followed his recent arrest on charges of trying to outrun a 15-year-old warrant, but many questions remain about Hsu’s fundraising tactics, the origin of the funds and whether they were all given legally.

It’s as if the whole thing was a Hsam.

UPDATE: Reader William Casey asks: “Is it possible there is a Hsu-Trie connection?”

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