Obama to Keep Norman Hsu's Money

While Hillary, Al Franken, Bill Richardson and others are returning Norman Hsu's campaign contributions, Obama is not.

Hsu also made donations to the Illinois senatorial campaign of Barack Obama in 2004. Yesterday, spokesman Jen Psaki said Obama, who has criticized Clinton for taking contributions that could undermine her independence, had no plans to return Hsu's donations.

I'm not going to criticize Obama for not returning the money. I think returning it was premature since it hasn't been determined there is anything illegal about the donations and as I said here, felons should be encouraged to participate in the political process, particularly after they've served their time (yes, I know Hsu doesn't fall in that category but his crime was 15 years ago and he's been law-abiding since.)


[F]elons should have the same right to contribute to society and seek to better their government as everyone else .... 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.

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    Pathetic!! (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by AscotMan on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 03:45:34 PM EST
    A link to an article which contains just one line about Obama keeping money from a Senatorial Campaign in 2004??!! Is that worth the title of this Post?

    Oh and yes, Hsu donated to a lot of Dems but like the article said, he was a 'HillRaiser'; bundling over £250,000 for her. So please stop with all these Hillary haters nonsense. It's really getting lame.

    Can you return donations from a previous (none / 0) (#1)
    by Geekesque on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 12:08:18 PM EST
    election cycle?

    Some people seem to be able to return (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 01:52:15 PM EST
    anything no matter when they acquired it ;)

    I'm not an expert (none / 0) (#2)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 12:33:55 PM EST
      but I'd say if that campaign committee closed out the books  and recorded final reports with the FEC  and all its money has previously been spent or lawfully transferred to a different committee it could not.

      On the other hand, it might be a a good time for  gesture such as donating to charity a like amount from a different committee account.

    Charity (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 12:49:07 PM EST
     On the other hand, it might be a a good time for  gesture such as donating to charity a like amount from a different committee account.

    That's what Clinton, Kennedy are doing. The rest are 'divesting' the money which I would guess means the same.



    Zero tolerance run amuck (none / 0) (#4)
    by aahpat on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 01:27:00 PM EST
    Your absolutely right that the past offences of citizens should not be used to prevent their participation in the democratic process.

    The right-wing love to find any excuse to segregate and divide up the population. The only thing worse is Democrats who capitulate to this kind of garbage.

    Hell, after Adolph Hitler no right-winger should be allowed to participate in any electoral process on the planet for a century or more after WW-II. That was a massive crime against humanity by a particular political perspective but do we stop fascists from running our streets and contributing to the likes of David Duke? No. The right-wing always get from society much more than they are willing to cede, as equality, to the rest of society.

    Good lord. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 01:58:15 PM EST
    SUO (none / 0) (#24)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:46:12 PM EST
    Do you think I should point out Repubs are demanding  that Craig resign??

    So, I suppose (none / 0) (#5)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 01:38:49 PM EST
    that if Jack Abramoff were someday to give money to a Republican candidate, we will all severely chastise anyone who draws attention to that and we will  champion Abramoff's desire  to better his government.

      Sometimes the things I read here just boggle the mind.

    I think the point of this post was the title (none / 0) (#6)
    by Geekesque on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 01:42:35 PM EST
    much moreso than the defense of felons donating money.

    One stone, two birds (none / 0) (#13)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:08:09 PM EST
    as long as he does it (none / 0) (#11)
    by cpinva on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:01:04 PM EST
    legally, yes we will! ah, but there's the rub.........................

    Shhhh (none / 0) (#7)
    by Dulcinea on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 01:50:19 PM EST
    Most of the headlines on this that I've seen are worded so that it appears Senator Clinton is the only one who received Hsu's contributions.  It takes more reading to find Hsu has contributed to other Democrats.

    Wonder why that is? (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 01:53:16 PM EST
    Hillary swift boating so soon?

    Swiftboating in full sail; (none / 0) (#12)
    by Dulcinea on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:07:58 PM EST
    and has been on the "progressive" blogs for months.  The Republics will be only too happy to spit it back should Senator Clinton get the nomination.  And I suspect that will not make the anti-Hillary Democrats unhappy.  

    Just between you and me (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:16:32 PM EST
    I favor Edwards but I'm saddened by the anti-Hillary venom out there.  I think it is fine to point out where one feels that she is weak on policies she seems to represent at this time but I can't hate her.  I couldn't write a hate Hillary diary even if the pay was good.  I don't even think I can hate Biden at this point and that is a stretch for me.  Nobody could do to this family what Dubya Bush has done except for Romney, McCain, Rudy, and Fred.  I don't have much hating in me right now for anybody but those guys.  If Hitler joins the Dem race maybe I'll have someone on that side to hate.

    Ditto (none / 0) (#25)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:47:06 PM EST
    I favor Edwards but I'm saddened by the anti-Hillary venom out there.

    Any of the Democrats would be better than any Republican running or thinking of running.


    Just between you and me (none / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:47:43 PM EST
    and a couple hundred thousand readers....

    What a great post, MilitaryTracy (none / 0) (#40)
    by Jamie on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 03:56:43 PM EST
    I feel the same way.  I just don't have it in me to bash Obama or Edwards in the manner that the left-blogs have been bashing Hillary.  

    I like all the Dem candidates.  I guess what I hate the most is cannibalism.  I haven't seen the GOP candidates go after each other as I've seen those on the left do to each other.

    It's quite sad, actually.  I guess those on the left aren't quite a cohesive group as the right are.


    If Clinton gets the nomination (none / 0) (#17)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:18:45 PM EST
      This incident will likely end up in a footnote on page 627 of the GOP's negative campaign playbook. You can be sure the Republicans are keeping the strong stuff  on the sidelines for now.

      Support whom you choose but do it with your eyes open. The GOP has to want Hillary because she gives them the best chance to win. Were she actually a progressive candidate I could see people thinking they'd rather go down with her than win with someone else, but in what way can she be considered the progressive choice among Democrats?


    Everybody spins how polarizing Hillary is (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:25:53 PM EST
    but I think that is something one can only say at this point.  She has done damn well in the debates and is running thusfar a foolproof campaign.  Now I know that can change any upcoming day but as America gets closer and closer to pulling that lever for President, if Hillary gets the nomination I believe that the "polarizing" thin shirt will fall apart.  The American mindset is a very different animal on the day we elect our Presidents and she is displaying the goods right now.

    What goods? (none / 0) (#19)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:31:19 PM EST
      She raises a lot of money and her opponents are not particularly strong candidates, so she is "ahead" but what has she shown that actually would cause someone who doesn't HATE all the Republicans to favor her.

      You need to understand this election will not be decided by people who HATE and will in fact be decided by people who don't like the people on both sides who hate. We need to give those people something to LIKE.



    I disagree respectfully (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:49:50 PM EST
    This election will be decided by Iraq. 2008 could very well turn into a watershed election like 1932.

    All of the GOP candidates have a millstone around their neck. None have or will distance themselves on Iraq. It is a polticial loser.


    Keep saying that to yourself (none / 0) (#29)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:56:27 PM EST
     but we're not running against Bush and while I totally agree with trying to frame it as a vote for  the Republicans is a show of support for Bush's war it is far from a certainty that will be how the undecideds who will decide this election see it.

    As long as we are in Iraq (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 03:11:36 PM EST
    W is on the ballot. Look Democrats ran against Hoover until Ike. The GOP ran against President Carter until President Clinton. The Democrats will run against W until the GOP ekes out a win in the distant future.

    Democrats are united (the intra-party squabbling notwithstanding), true independents are leaning heavily Democratic. Condiions are ripe for a 1932 style watershed election. I am not predicting it will happen, but this is the best polticial climate for the Democrats since... 1964 or 1932.

    You cannot ask for a better election climate. As for HRC progressive bona fides... keep in mind FDR was a lightweight moderate who didn't annouce wholesale changes talked about 'sound money" (code for the gold standard) and campaigned by ridiculing Hoover. I am not saying HRC is the next FDR either, I'm saying all we know is she is moderate to left and her last name ain't Bush. She is competant and electable.

    Running against President Clinton is a political loser. He is seen as being a successful moderate President. If the GOP strategy is to get HRC on the ballot and run against the Clintons.... Good luck. It is a losing strategy... unless listen to gasbag pundits again and run away from him.


    If it is actually a huge issue in 7/08 (none / 0) (#31)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 03:01:28 PM EST
    All the Repub candidate would have to do is announce ever so reluctantly that the actions of the Demos have so destroyed our chances of winning that he would have to withdraw our troops.

    Would he loose base support? Most likely, but if I am to believe the Left, he would gain 2 to 1, plus the Repub base has no where to go, just as the Left has no place to go from the Demos.


    They will be too busy defending (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 03:14:44 PM EST
    Bush's stupity to attack. Good luck with that!


    If dreams can come true (none / 0) (#42)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 08:12:13 PM EST
    it can happen to you.........

    but not very likely

    You can't replay 1976


    Many people on the left are uncomfortable (none / 0) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 31, 2007 at 06:34:34 AM EST
    with my HATE of Bush and his cronies and now his partners in war crime seeking the POTUS position.  My family has suffered greatly though needlessly because of these people and in that light I'm usually allowed my hate because that is what it takes to survive what these people are doing in my position.  When this is all over, knowing myself as I do, in a few months time I will be able to put that behind me and have an all around healthier emotional make up.  Till then though, this is what they've purchased with their lying, torturing, murdering for profit, bloodlust........little ole ME.

    of, for a lot of people, they either "love" her or "hate" her, ie., there aren't many people who have a wishy-washy opinion of her.

    Therefore, I think the "polarizing" label fits her perfectly now, and, considering the pitched battle she will face if nominated, she will likely only become more so.

    Oddly enough, for some of us the word "hate" is not part of our vocabulary, but I digress...


    It escapes me (none / 0) (#20)
    by Dulcinea on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:33:53 PM EST
    why some Democrats insist the Republics want Hillary to run. Because Rove and his like will play every dirty trick in the book to beat her?  As if they will do that to any Democratic nominee.  It's much more likely that Rove's merry band knows she's the one with the best strategist and she's a savvy campaigner in her own right.  Should the Republics decide on the Democratic nominee they want to smear or should we tell them to bring it on?  

    Correction (none / 0) (#21)
    by Dulcinea on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:35:38 PM EST
    ...as if they will NOT do that....

    Because (none / 0) (#23)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:43:07 PM EST
      Contrary to paranoid fears, the Republicans are not evil geniuses who can spin anything they want out of nothing. They need the foundation upon which to build their attack structure. giving them the candidate where not only the foundation has been laid but the whle house has been built and remodeled a couple of times and just needs some new siding and shingles makes it easier for them.

    What??!!!! (none / 0) (#44)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 08:18:54 PM EST
    Do you deny that Rove and Bush created "Katrina" and directed it to devast New Orleans?

    And here I was thinking you were a logical, rational man who I sometimes disagreed with.

    May MoveOn forgive me. May Kos accept my apologies.


    Uh hate to bring this up (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:54:17 PM EST
    But Rove is gone and W isn't running...

    Hillary's last name is Clinton. Like it or not, during the other Clinton's campaign it was said:

    You get two for the price of one.

    Hillary will inherit all of good and the bad. Can't be helped.


    As long as we are in Iraq (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:56:53 PM EST
    W and his political progeny are running.


    See my 3:01 comment (none / 0) (#33)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 03:10:19 PM EST
    And keep on worrying about the Surge.

    Its wrong there too. (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 03:12:45 PM EST
    Did they ever stop? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:14:48 PM EST
    He was bundling for only her in the 2008 (none / 0) (#16)
    by Geekesque on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:18:31 PM EST
    primary race.

    To return to the suject ;-) (none / 0) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 03:06:12 PM EST
    If this guy hasn't surrendered, then he is a fugitive. Now the judge might take into consideration his wonderful life since he "forgot" to show up for prison, but would these new set of problems speak poorly of him?

    I wonder when he is going to be arrested.

    Anybody want to give odds on him leaving the country??

    A few points (none / 0) (#39)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 03:54:40 PM EST
     Technically speaking he is onnly a "fugitive" if the court has issued an order (usually called a capias or bench warrant) commanding that law enforcement take him into custody. The mere act of not appearing to serve his sentence would not  
    necessarily make him a "fugitive." It is not unheard of for the paperwork to be neglected in a relatively minor case in a large, busy jurisdiction.  In any event, one can assume such an order has been  or will be issued now that he is a cause celebre. Of course, if he stays out of California then it gets more complicated with extradition and rendition and all that to actually bring him back if he doesn't come voluntarily.

       More interesting to me, is the possibility that under Californina law (I don't know it. Are there any California lawyers here?)  since his sentenceing order has not been executed that the judge could vacate the prior order and resentence him with a sentence that included an order for prompt restitution since he is now evidently in much better financial shape than at the time of his original sentencing.


    The inability of Demos (none / 0) (#43)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 08:14:33 PM EST
    to see that a convicted felon doesn't serve his sentence, escapes, etc., is the stuff the Repubs dream of..

    Shouldn't Norm (none / 0) (#37)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 03:25:05 PM EST
    head back to CA and turn himself into the authorities?

    Need to update the story: (none / 0) (#41)
    by Geekesque on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 06:14:07 PM EST
    Obama is returning the money.

    He's actually being more scrupulous than Clinton (I guess she needs the money):

    On Thursday, Obama's campaign said he would give to charity the $2,000 Hsu contributed to his 2004 Senate campaign and the $5,000 Hsu gave to his political action committee, Hopefund. Hsu's $43,700 in donations to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $2,500 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also will go to charity, both groups announced Thursday.

    Obama campaign lawyers also are sending a letter to a San Francisco mail carrier and his family who gave maximum donations to several of the same candidates supported by Hsu. The Wall Street Journal this week said the family of William Paw lives in a modest home that Hsu once listed as belonging to him. The Obama letter will ask the Paws to affirm that their past contributions to Obama came from their own finances.