Hillary and Other Dems to Give Norman Hsu's Contributions to Charity

Looks like the outstanding California arrest warrant for Norman Hsu was the breaking point for Hillary Clinton and other Democrats' campaigns. They are giving his donations to charity.

Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer said the $23,000 included contributions from Hsu to Clinton's presidential campaign, her Senate re-election and her political action committee. The campaign did not plan to return any money Hsu raised from other donors, Singer said.

"In light of the information regarding Mr. Hsu's outstanding warrant in California we will be giving his contribution to charity," Singer said.

Also divesting themselves of Hsu's funds: Al Franken and Rep. Michael Honda of California and Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania. I expect that Obama's campaign will make a similar statement:

Federal Election Commission records show that Hsu has donated $260,000 to Democratic Party groups and federal candidates since 2004. Though a fundraiser for Clinton, he also donated to Sen. Barack Obama's Senate campaign in 2004 and to Obama's political action committee.

One note: The money is not being returned because the contributions were illegal. It's being returned because of Hsu's criminal conviction.

As Rep. Honda's spokeswoman said,


"While there's no information that we have or evidence showing that the contributions were illegal in any way, we have a campaign policy that if we have information that a contributor or someone directing contributions to the campaign has or may have committed a felony, then it's the policy to either return the funds or make a charitable donation."

While I don't agree that campaigns should automatically reject money from those with felony convictions -- felons should have the same right to contribute to society and seek to better their government as everyone else -- it seems like they are all in agreement that the money is not worth the aggravation that might result if the donations were publicized. That's very short-sighted in my view. Allowing felons, particularly after they've served their sentence to become engaged in the political process likely gives them a greater investment in remaining law-abiding and reduces recidivism.

I hope the Hsu case doesn't result in campaigns demanding past criminal history information from those who seek to contribute. That would be a bad precedent.

My criticism stands of the Wall St. Journal article that implied there was something wrong about the Paw donations without any evidence to that effect. The LA Times, it turns out, did a much better job of reporting on Mr. Hsu.

As for Mr. Hsu, in a statement released today, he said:

"I believe I properly resolved all of the legal issues related to my bankruptcy in the early 1990s. Therefore, I was surprised to learn that there appears to be an outstanding warrant _ as demonstrated by the fact that I have and do live a public life. I have not sought to evade any of my obligations and certainly not the law."

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    This is a nonstory (none / 0) (#1)
    by jasonsays on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 10:06:13 PM EST
    This whole thing has been blown way out of whack by our deceitful media. They keep showing this picture of a rundown looking shack to make it seem like something is fishy about the donations thus implying that the Dems who have received these donations are in cahoots somehow. What the media continually fails to mention is that this home is worth $270,000.00 due to its geography! This could by a brand new 5 bedroom 3000+ squarefoot home in suburbs in GA or NC. No one would be suspicious if a donation came from a home like that. If the media is going to keep showing this picture, they should be honest with their viewers and tell them how much it is worth.

    Yeah, nothing fishy here (none / 0) (#2)
    by Patrick on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 11:24:19 PM EST
    Including the fact the four adult children all list the residence as their home address too.  Nope, nothing fishy.

    And $270K is a run down shack almost anywhere in California.  And $49K per year from a postal job is not enough to afford that mortgage and make those kind of contributions. So either the gift shop is a booming business or there's something underhanded going on.  


    Hmm (none / 0) (#3)
    by jarober on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 05:14:07 AM EST
    "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."

    I seem to recall Democrats scoffing at this kind of explanation when used by - say - Scooter Libby.  But hey - this is all different, because it only involves an actual felony conviction from which the perpetrator hid for 16 years.

    As always, it depends on whose ox is being gored.

    There Is Something Here (none / 0) (#4)
    by No Status Quo on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 06:05:00 AM EST
    Until the Congress passes meaningful campaign reform we'll continue to get the best politicians money can buy.  Though Hsu's list of recepients is a "Who's Who" of the Democratic Party, you can coung on the GOP to be as bad or worse.  

    This is and should be an issue in the upcoming election cycle.  Agreed that it's just not Hillary Clinton, it's far too many of our elected officials.  No wonder so many don't vote.

    I agree. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 07:12:27 AM EST
      This is just a good example to represent what is wrong with the entire system.

      The pursuit of money corrupts but money is essential if one wants to have a chance to win. As long as those two conditions exist we will have system-wide problems.

      It's difficult to imagine a world populated by human beings, let alone politicians,  in which the pursuit of money does not corrupt, so it might be fruitful to explore means of making it possible for candidates lacking money to have a realistic chance of winning.

       1st  Amendment jurisprudence pretty well restricts our ability to make under-financed candidates and causes  competitive by limitng the financing of others. Perhaps, it's time for people to begin promoting the idea of a constitutional amendment which sets different parameters for the right to spend money in pursuit of electoral results than Buckley v. Valleo and its progeny which largely equate using money with speech.