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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Norman Hsu, Hillary Clinton, Corruption and Campaign Finance Fraud

Will the Hillary Clinton scandals, her supporters, like Mayor Samuel Rivera, being arrested for corruption, her contributors being criminals and her coming under oath for campaign finance fraud, be the end of her presidential aspirations?

Daily News reports that team Clinton cannot explain the fact that they ignored warnings about Norman Hsu.

WASHINGTON - Hillary Clinton's campaign couldn't explain yesterday why it blew off warnings about felon-turned-fund-raiser Norman Hsu - and the Daily News learned FBI agents are collecting e-mail evidence in the widening scandal.

Clinton was forced Monday to give back a whopping $850,000 raised by convicted scam artist Hsu after learning his investment ventures were being probed by the FBI as a potential Ponzi scheme.

She earlier gave to charity $23,000 Hsu donated himself after reports revealed he fled sentencing for a $1 million scam in California in 1992.

Yesterday, the campaign insisted it did all it should to vet Hsu after California businessman Jack Cassidy warned in June that Hsu's investment operation was fishy. Cassidy e-mailed his tips to the California Democratic Party, which forwarded them to the Clinton campaign.

Cassidy did not want to talk about the case, saying he doesn't want to jeopardize the FBI's efforts. But he wants Hsu prosecuted. He told The News that Hsu was a reverse Robin Hood - "a hood robbin' the poor to give to the rich."

His warning "prompted a search of publicly available information, which did not reveal Mr. Hsu's decade-plus-old warrant," said Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson. He would not say why the campaign didn't follow up on specifics Cassidy included to explain his suspicions.

The NYT's shows us that "money" and "ethics" have always been a worry for Hillary Clinton supporters.

Of all the possible vulnerabilities facing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign, Mrs. Clinton has long believed that the one of the biggest was money, friends and advisers say. Some sort of fund-raising scandal that would echo the Clinton-era controversies of the 1990s and make her appear greedy or ethically challenged.

As a result, Mrs. Clinton told aides this year to vet major donors carefully and help her avoid situations in which she might appear to be trading access for big money, advisers said. Also to be avoided, the senator said, were fund-raising tactics that might conjure up the Clinton White House coffees and the ties to relatively unknown donors offering large sums, like the Asian businessmen who sent checks to the Democratic National Committee.

Yet nine months into her campaign, Mrs. Clinton is grappling with exactly the situation she feared — giving up nearly $900,000 that had been donated or raised by Norman Hsu, a one-time fugitive and one of her top fund-raisers, whose actions raise serious questions about how well the campaign vetted its donors. As a result, Mrs. Clinton now finds herself linked to a convicted criminal who brought in tens of thousands of dollars from potentially tainted sources.

The Hsu case has revived ugly memories for voters about the Democratic fund-raising scandals when Bill Clinton was president, the senator’s campaign advisers acknowledge, a time when both Clintons were often photographed with people whose money later turned out to be dirty, including Johnny Chung and Charlie Trie. Mrs. Clinton is running on her White House experience in the 1990s, and any attention cast on past fund-raising controversies could threaten her image with voters.

More on Jimmy Chung:

WASHINGTON (March 5) -- Democratic fund-raiser Johnny Chung has agreed to plead guilty to election law violations and cooperate in the ongoing Justice Department investigation into illegal campaign fund-raising in the 1996 elections.

Chung's attorney Brian Sun said in a statement released to CNN, "Mr. Chung has reached an agreement with the government. Mr. Chung wants to put this matter behind him as quickly as possible. He and his family are looking forward to getting on with their lives."

Chung became a major figure in the Democratic fund-raising scandal when it was learned he made almost 50 visits to the White House. During one visit, Chung gave first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's then-chief of staff, Maggie Williams, a $50,000 check for the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The check was delivered inside the White House.

More on Charlie Trie from 1998:

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 28) -- Charlie Trie, a longtime friend of President Bill Clinton, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington in connection with campaign finance abuses, CNN has learned.

Sources say that a sealed indictment handed down Wednesday accuses Trie of election law violations and mail fraud. However, Trie, believed to be somewhere in Asia, has not been arrested because he cannot be found.

Trie has been one of the central figures in the investigations of alleged improprieties in raising money for the 1996 campaign. He raised a combined $1.2 million for the Democratic National Committee and Clinton's legal defense fund -- money which both entities later returned because of questions about its source.

Congressional investigators have alleged that some of the money Trie contributed to Clinton and the Democrats may have come from sources in China, which are barred by federal law from contributing to American election campaigns.

Trie also has been linked to schemes by which money was distributed to people legally able to contribute, who then allegedly donated it to the Democrats in their names in order to conceal the actual source of the funds.

Trie also was seen on one of the videotapes taken of controversial White House receptions for campaign donors. The tapes were turned over to congressional investigators last November.

More from the NYT article:

Advisers say Mrs. Clinton is not so much furious about the scandal, as she is worried about containing the political damage.

To that end, Clinton campaign aides refused yesterday to release the names of the 260 donors whom Mr. Hsu recruited to the campaign, preferring to wait until they finish their own research on the individuals. Mrs. Clinton and her advisers are concerned that rival campaigns or the news media will dig into the background of each donor, and they want to be prepared if some of the donors end up having money funneled to them from Mr. Hsu or have shady backgrounds.

The campaign is refunding $850,000 to these donors, viewing the money as tainted. Yet the campaign is also risking another public relations mess by saying that it would take back the money if it clearly came from the donor’s bank account, not from Mr. Hsu or another source. The risk is that Mrs. Clinton will appear to want more cash no matter whether it was once colored by a disgraced donor.

The National Ledger points to another scandal associated with Hillary Clinton:

Not to be outdone, the Washington Post has turned up another potential scandal involving the Clintons. In this story, an Indian American businessman, Sant Chatwal, has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the senator’s campaigns, “even as he battled governments on two continents to escape bankruptcy and millions of dollars in tax liens.”

Lets not forget others that have been other crime stats associated with Hillary and Bill Clinton, when they were in the White House:

Crime Stats:

- Number of individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine who have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes: 47
- Number of these convictions during Clinton's presidency: 33
- Number of indictments/misdemeanor charges: 61
- Number of congressional witnesses who have pleaded the Fifth Amendment, fled the country to avoid testifying, or (in the case of foreign witnesses) refused to be interviewed: 122

Forgetful Clinton "friends":

Number of times that Clinton figures who testified in court or before Congress said that they didn't remember, didn't know, or something similar.

Hillary Clinton 250.
Bill Kennedy 116
Harold Ickes 148
Ricki Seidman 160
Bruce Lindsey 161
Bill Burton 191
Mark Gearan 221
Mack McLarty 233
Neil Egglseston 250
John Podesta 264
Jennifer O'Connor 343
Dwight Holton
348 Patsy Thomasson 420
Jeff Eller 697

The Washington Times has an interview with Philip "Flip" Pidot:

While Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu was arrested last week, blogger Philip "Flip" Pidot was searching for data and crunching numbers to document that the political contributions made by Hsu's network totaled nearly $1.6 million, substantially more than news organizations previously reported.

Posted at his "Suitably Flip" site (, Mr. Pidot's blogging reflects the 31-year-old's various interests in economics, technology and politics. A financial analyst with a master's degree in business administration from the University of Virginia, Mr. Pidot was a Republican candidate for the New York state Senate last year, winning 21 percent of the vote in a race against an incumbent Democrat in a liberal district on Manhattan's East Side.

Go read that interview, it is very enlightening although it leaves us with different questions that before reading it.

Last but not least, the Wall Street Journal gives us a clue of who might be behind Norman Hsu and his money.

Hillary has a problem and it cannot be blamed on her "vast right wing conspircay" theory, her problem is her own ethics and finance campaign scandals.

With more than a year before the presidential elections, one has to wonder how much more information is going to see the light of day about Hillary?