Raking Norman Hsu Over the Coals

When the media gets a bug up it's as*, it just doesn't quit.

Check out all these articles on Norman Hsu this weekend.

The NY Daily News:

Disgraced Democratic fund-raiser Norman Hsu was wandering an Amtrak train bare-chested and shoeless and "freaked out" when he was nabbed, a witness said. "I thought he had a suitcase full of crack or meth," fellow passenger Alberto Dee, 21, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

....The train's conductor said the two-time fugitive looked like an elderly man with dementia, and that's why he called 911.

The Denver Post reports a hospital administrator described Hsu as delirious.

The Washington Post leads with a fundraiser Hsu held for Barack Obama in 2005.

The New York Times devotes multiple paragraphs to one month of bank records it was able to locate from 2003. The stunning revelation:


The records included a bank statement and a set of canceled checks for Components Ltd. that were made available to The New York Times for review by someone associated with Mr. Hsu. Because they covered only a single month in 2003, it could not be determined if the pattern of payments to the nine people was a singular occurrence, or continued closer in proximity to the hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions that Mr. Hsu eventually bundled.

The Wall St. Journal has three reporters, one in California, Washington and Hong Kong, rummaging though court documents so old they are in storage, (and six reporters in all on the byline to the article. )

Mr. Hsu's past, illuminated by documents fished out of storage at various courts and interviews with former partners and friends, is full of failed businesses, a kidnapping, lawsuits and bouts of financial ruin followed by hard-to-explain recovery.

The article carries this statement released Friday by Hsu's lawyer, James Brosnahan:

"In the last 36 hours a great many friends of Norman Hsu have expressed concern about his mental health and physical well-being. We are very pleased and relieved that he is now being cared for at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado. The strain he has been under during the last week has been enormous and, perhaps, unbearable. We will be getting him the best medical care available. The legal matter pending in San Mateo Superior Court will be handled in its proper course."

Why all the fuss? Mr. Hsu is a U.S. citizen. He's a graduate of Berkeley and the Wharton School of Business. He went bankrupt in the U.S. and got charged with a crime as a result. He didn't show up for his sentencing and has said he thought the case had been resolved.

He didn't rape or kill anyone. He's not a terrorist or an agent of a foreign power. He contributed money to Democratic candidates, none of whom had an inkling there was anything off-kilter. They've all said they will donate the money to charity. It appears Hsu isn't even registered to vote.

The man tried to contribute to our political process and ends up a national pariah. Can we have some perspective, please?

The Justice Department will investigate. Even if his contributions violated campaign finance laws, it's not a death penalty offense. Nor should we drive him to suicide.

Everyone else should get off his case already.

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    The most interesting aspect of this (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by oculus on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 12:51:11 PM EST
    to me is that Hsu FTA'd his sentencing hearing, a warrant was apparently issued, he continues with the very public activity of bundling, and only now is the warrant executed.  Kind of like looking for Bin Laden.

    Convicted of a crime due to (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 01:07:44 AM EST
     bankruptcy?  That is not how the NYT reported it today:

    In 1991, he was charged with stealing $1 million from 20 investors in what the California authorities called a Ponzi scheme. In February 1992, he pleaded no contest to one count of grand larceny in an agreement that called for three years in prison. But he failed to appear for sentencing on June 10, 1992.

    Yes (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 10:07:42 AM EST
    the criminal charges followed the bankruptcy which followed his failed latex glove business. It looks like he tried to discharge the debts to the investors, some complained, the authorities investigated, decided it was a ponzi scheme and charged him with a crime. All were between 1989 and 1992.

    That's rich! (none / 0) (#13)
    by Deconstructionist on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 08:09:04 AM EST
      Sort of like labeling a bank employee's embezzlement a crime related to " accounting and auditing procedures" if the stolen money was discovered due to an audit.



    So (none / 0) (#3)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 04:56:38 AM EST
    no need to find out where the money really came from?  Nothing to see here just move along...

    let the Justice Dept do it (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 10:11:24 AM EST
    it's their job to decide whether a crime has been committed by the fundraising.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#12)
    by Deconstructionist on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 07:51:49 AM EST
      We darn sure don't want the press reporting about such things. If it weren't for that silly 1st Amendment we could stop such abhorrent conduct.

    Hsubterfuge (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jim Treacher on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 11:38:32 AM EST
    He didn't rape or kill anyone. He's not a terrorist or an agent of a foreign power.

    I'll have to remember these criteria for the proper amount of media interest the next time somebody on the other side of the aisle screws up.

    Well,considering the sheer number and variety (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by scribe on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 12:10:44 PM EST
    of Rethug transgressions of law, Constitution, morals and plain old common sense, I think it would be wise for the Rethugs to take a big heaping spoonful of STFU.  I mean:
    The convicted, pleaded, admitted, charged or resigned-rather-than-face-the-music:
    Ney and a couple others from Ohio whose names escape me right now
    that Assistant Secretary of State with the DC escort service and "just massages"
    Claude Allen (the WH aide and nominee to the Fourth Circuit who got caught stealing retail from (IIRC) a Walmart, and everyone thought it was his (real) evil twin)
    the Alaska "Corrupt Bastards Club"

    And then there are the ones implicated or investigated, though not yet charged:
    Stevens, Jr.
    Ullman (Mr. "Shock and Awe")
    And the list goes on.  And I haven't even started talking about what they've done in the Wah on Terra or DHS or the CPA, or the marginally-legal graft that arguably makes this the most corrupt Administration (whether in percentage of GNP or in dollars) ever, even more than the Grant admin.

    Nor have I talked about Enron (which gave overwhelmingly to Rethug candidates) or Deadeye Dick's little Halliburton stock problem (which the SEC made go away by some between-raindrops-dancing).  I could go on and on.

    No, Mr. Hsu's real sin here was:
    "He contributed to Democratic candidates".

    Frankly, I thought the descriptions of his mental state (as in the NYDN article) help him - he got confused where he was going.


    "Rethugs" (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jim Treacher on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 12:37:52 PM EST
    Thanks for saving me the time.

    "Rethugs" (none / 0) (#10)
    by diogenes on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 06:51:27 PM EST
    The rethugs mostly got prison time (unless sentences were commuted, as for Libby) and got horrible press.  Hsu has unknown people behind him (sort of like reporting on Abramoff without asking who he gave money to) and in front of him (who in Hillary's campaign knew about this bundling and what did he or she deliberately hide?).
    Hsu could, for example, tell us who he reported to in the Hillary camp-but like in the Mafia, it only takes one link to disappear to stop the police.
    Jim is right-Hsu probably sleeps with the fishes.

    Perhaps (none / 0) (#11)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 07:25:17 AM EST
    The man tried to contribute to our political process and ends up a national pariah.  

    That may be true.  OTOH the facts as known seem to fit money laundering rather well.