The Wall Street Journal has run two intriguing stories related to Clinton campaign fundraising this week. Yesterday’s story by Brody Mullins involved the Paw family of Daly City, California, that has donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005 while the head of the house is making a living delivering the mail. The house in which the family lives is the size of a matchbox, though it matches the former address of the wealthy Democratic contributor Norman Hsu. Today the Journal follows up in a story by Mullins and Ianthe Jeanne Duggan that profiles the mysterious Mr. Hsu. The Journal reports:
Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that a modest home in a middle-class San Francisco suburb, where the family of mail carrier William Paw resides, is listed as the address for many contributions to the Clinton campaign. Mr. Hsu once listed the home as his address, according to public records, and the Paws’ donations closely tracked his.
Mr. Hsu’s lawyer, Lawrence Barcella, took issue with a connection between his client and the Paws.
“Like every fund-raiser, he asks friends, colleagues and others to support the causes and candidates he supports. That is what every fund-raiser in America for any cause — political or nonprofit — does,” Mr. Barcella said in a written statement. “And, in none of these instances, to address the WSJ innuendo, has Mr. Hsu reimbursed them for their contributions.”
Reading of Mr. Hsu reminded me of the mysterious Dr. Wu in Steely Dan’s evocative “Katy Lied.” Steely Dan sings:
Are you with me Doctor Wu?
Are you really just a shadow
Of the man that I once knew?
She is lovely yes she’s sly
And you’re an ordinary guy.
Has she finally got to you?
Can you hear me Doctor?
Those in search of answers to the questions will not find the post attacking the Journal’s stories at Hillary Matters to provide much illumination. And today brings word that Mr. Hsu appears to be a fugitive who pleaded guilty to a million dollar swindle in 1991, though I can find no comment as of this moment by Hillary Matters.
UPDATE: John Fund writes that he appeared on Laura Ingraham’s show today on this subject, and that it’s hot. John also kindly forwards what appears to be his Poliltical Diary entry on the topic:
In Case You Forgot Who John Huang Was…
Hillary Clinton suddenly has her own version of John Huang, the mysterious fund-raiser and former Clinton political appointee who was at the heart of her husband’s 1996 campaign scandals. He’s Norman Hsu, a wealthy New Yorker and Democratic fundraiser whose questionable political giving was the subject of an investigative report in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. Mr. Hsu is an official high-dollar “HillRaiser” for the Clinton campaign — and, it turns out, a fugitive from justice since 1992, when he reportedly pleaded no contest to a charge of grand theft, agreed to serve three years in prison and then vanished.
How very reminiscent of the strange cast of characters who swirled around the 1996 Clinton campaign. At the center of the controversy over improper contributions and alleged links between the contributors and the Chinese government was James Riady, scion of the shadowy Hong Kong-based Lippo Group, who returned to Asia and never cooperated with investigators. Pauline Kanchanalak, whose $253,000 in contributions had to be returned by the DNC, decamped to her native Thailand. Little Rock restaurateur Charlie Trie, a major-league fund-raiser and recipient of wire transfers from the Bank of China in Hong Kong, took up residence in Beijing to avoid questioning.
Mr. Hsu appears to be following in the footsteps of Mr. Huang, a genius at finding contributors of apparent modest means to donate lavishly to the Clinton campaign. The Journal reported this week that among his prize catches was the family of William Paw, a mail carrier in Daly City, Calif. None of the Paws ever donated to any candidates before 2004, but seven adults in the Paw family have donated $213,000 to Democratic candidates in the last three years, including $55,000 to Mrs. Clinton. In Mr. Huang’s day, an Indonesian gardener, despite being a foreign national, donated $200,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 1996 and then suddenly had to leave for Jakarta.
E. Lawrence Barcella Jr., the Washington lawyer who represents Mr. Hsu, says his client had nothing to do with the 1996 fundraising scandal and is simply a big fan of the Clintons and Democrats in general. As for that pesky grand theft charge, Mr. Barcella says his client doesn’t recall pleading guilty to any criminal charge or having an obligation to serve jail time.
Hmm. Similar memory failures were rampant in the 1996 scandal. Witnesses called before the Senate investigative committee chaired by then-Senator Fred Thompson suffered collective amnesia on just about any subject much beyond their names, titles and Social Security numbers.
To its credit, the Clinton campaign does remember Mr. Hsu and is bravely defending him — for now. “Norman Hsu is a longtime and generous supporter of the Democratic Party and its candidates, including Sen. Clinton,” said Howard Wolfson, a Clinton spokesman, on Tuesday. Of course, that was before the latest revelations about Mr. Hsu’s criminal record. No doubt he will now be placed in the same memory hole as Mr. Huang and all the other fundraisers for the Clinton political machine whose tactics proved embarrassing.
John recalls John Huang and discusses Norman Hsu in the interview below.
UPDATE: Mr. Hsu may be with Ms. Hillary, but Hillary’s not with Mr. Hsu. According to the AP, Hillary is divesting herself of Hsu’s contributions. And there is a local angle. Al Franken too will divest himself of Hsu’s $2,300 contribution. As for Hsu, his contribution to the cause will be “to refrain from all fundraising activities on behalf of all candidates and causes.” They also serve who only stand and wait!