September 9, 2007

Fashion Companies Nothing But Spats For Hsu

The New York Times has its reporters wearing out some old-fashioned shoe leather in attempting to trace down the source of Norman Hsu's prodigious amounts of money, used to float $1.6 million in personal and bundled contributions to Democratic candidates and organizations. The result? The Times discovered that the companies Hsu listed appear to have only one produce -- salaries for Democratic contributors:

At the center of the ever-deepening mystery of Norman Hsu, the fugitive fund-raiser who was captured after a brief flight from the law last week, is the question of how he evolved from a bankrupt swindler in 1992 to a wealthy donor to many Democratic candidates, and a bundler of campaign contributions to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2007.

A review of financial records for one of Mr. Hsu’s companies begins to shed light on some of his recent activities, including his dealings with a circle of campaign contributors that has fallen under suspicion since news of Mr. Hsu’s criminal past, murky business interests and unexplained riches rocked the Democratic Party.

The records show that Components Ltd., a company controlled by Mr. Hsu that has no obvious business purpose and appears to exist only on paper, has paid a total of more than $100,000 to at least nine people who made campaign contributions to Mrs. Clinton and others through Mr. Hsu. The payments occurred in the spring of 2003, several months before Mr. Hsu emerged as a contributor to Democrats and more than a year before he started bundling checks from those same people for various campaigns. In all, he has raised more than $1 million for Democrats.

The records make clear that the group was more than just a loose collection of friends, family and co-workers that bundlers typically rely on when raising money for a candidate. Rather, each person had a direct financial relationship with Mr. Hsu, either receiving money from his company or paying into it, even though many of them appear to have other jobs or businesses independent of him. The purpose of the payments, and whether they related to business costs, fees or expenses, is unclear.

The system described by Mike McIntyre is one that resembles a pyramid scheme, except the only payoff participant were Democratic candidates and organizations. The companies existed to take money from various people and push it through others to get the money to Hsu's political clients. It allowed the money to come through cleanly and to keep it from raising the attention of the FEC.

For instance, Components Ltd took $600,000 in receipts one month. These did not come from sales of product, but rather cash transfer from people associated with Hsu's bundled contributions, especially from two specific associates. Components Ltd them sent out $660,000 in the same month to other people connected to Hsu's bundling, although almost $100,000 of those checks bounced.

McIntyre closed the gap a little on Hsu's missing years abroad while fleeing the US and a three-year stretch for fraud. He did return to Hong Kong and opened new businesses, but by 1998 he had to declare bankruptcy there as well. The Hong Kong court system does not release the name of the creditor, but they did report that Hsu only emerged from bankruptcy there in 2006 -- two years after he reappeared as a major Democratic fundraiser.

Clearly, the feds will find interesting material in this information. The family whose massive contributions led the Wall Street Journal to report on Hsu has been up to their eyeballs in Hsu's shell game. The Paws have wired five-figure funds transfers, despite their modest income. Hsu also wired the Paws significant amounts of money. All of this occurred in May 2003, which predates most of the attention-getting contributions Hsu engineered.

Can you say "wire fraud"? I know the FBI can. That carries about a six-year sentence, and once they start interrogating the Paws, the Lees, and the other channels for Hsu's bundling, this case will start to assemble in a hurry.

And at that point, perhaps we will get the answer to the big question: where did all of this money really originate? And how did all of these Democrats, including three current or former state Attorneys General, manage to miss all of this illegal activity from one of their biggest rainmakers?

Note: Danny Glover has a great post about Hsu punning. It's forcing me to put on my running shoes to keep ahead.


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Comments (31)

Posted by mistercalm | September 9, 2007 9:29 AM

I'd love to see some so-called "real journalists" latch onto this story like it was Scooter Libby or Karl Rove and actually do some investigative reporting that they're reputedly famous for. Everything I've seen journalists do in recent years was wait for the Democrats to hand them their talking points.

Posted by Steffan | September 9, 2007 9:57 AM

Considering his Hong Kong connections and certain Clinton history, it wouldn't greatly surprise me if the ultimate source of his money is the Chinese government.

It would certainly fit. And it meets the requirements of Occam's Razor.

Posted by docjim505 | September 9, 2007 10:32 AM

Ditto mistercalm. It WOULD be nice to see the MSM pursue this story as though Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Tom DeLay or George W. Bush were involved. I'm not holding my breath, however. They'll do just enough to make it appear that they're being diligent and unbiased, but NOTHING to derail the chances of America's First Woman President and She Who Will End the Reign of King George.

Posted by danforth | September 9, 2007 10:43 AM

sounds like a sophisticated network that is more complex than simple reimbursement of contributions.
imagine something like an organization chart where chang gives to chung who gives to chong who gives to hillary and obama. the ch*ng clan is reimbursing each other with chinese $ that ends up with the dem mafia. not a directly linked simple transaction but multiple linked transactions. hsu didn't reimburse paw, ch*ng did. not too hard to break dow tho...

Posted by sherlock | September 9, 2007 10:44 AM

Even though they would dig to Hades to nail Rove, the NYT is showing some uncharacteristic energy in this, considering it points toward Democrat corruption. Allow me to speculate:

They are assuming that it is statistically inevitable that if they dig far enough, they will uncover a Republican recipient, magically transforming the scandal into a "bipartisan" one, rather than a "Democrat" one, and instantly rocketing it to page 1.

They are playing poker, trying to fill a busted flush. I hope they don't, but I can't figure why an operator like Hsu (okay, Hu) wouldn't spread a little spare change on the other side of the aisle just to provide that cover for the MSM to use. If you don't think our enemies and rivals don't know that the MSM is their most potent weapon, I'd like to interest you in some really nice arid land I own in Florida.

Isn't it amazing how little "the public's right to know" actually guides journalists, despite all their protestations? In a way, it's just like how little the actual security of the United States guides the foreign policy positions of Democrats.

Posted by Aldo | September 9, 2007 10:56 AM

Mark this prediction: If this web ever gets fully untangled (which I would bet against heavily), we will see one Harold Ickes sitting in the center of it.

Posted by Hugh Beaumont | September 9, 2007 11:15 AM

Mark this prediction: If this web ever gets fully untangled (which I would bet against heavily), we will see one Harold Ickes sitting in the center of it.


Ickes formed an organization 2.5 years ago. He claimed it was a Democratic fundraising organization. It was purely a front for Hillary. He's been laying the groundwork for Clinton since Bush was re-elected in 04.

Posted by kingronjo | September 9, 2007 11:28 AM

Sometimes Occam's razor is the answer and in this case it's the Communist Chinese paying the Democrats to turn over America's most sensitive computers and software. The Chinese certainly got their moneys worth from the Clinton's and the DNC- men in space, a new fleet of nuclear submarines, greater range and more accuracy on their ballistic missiles (hello Hollywood!), etc.

But some say Harold Ickes is the man if not the Commies. No, he doesnt have the funds to do this. He's just gonna wind up the bag man. No, if not the Chinese its George Soros. That would be where I would put my 'place' bet.

I am not a conspiracy nut but lets face it, Hsu doesn't have the money for this. Someone is putting it up. Connect the dots.

Posted by Jim Treacher | September 9, 2007 11:55 AM

Now TalkLeft is trying a little Hsubterfuge:

He didn't rape or kill anyone. He's not a terrorist or an agent of a foreign power...

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.

Remember these criteria for the proper amount of media interest the next time somebody on the other side of the aisle screws up.

Posted by Aldo | September 9, 2007 12:00 PM

But some say Harold Ickes is the man if not the Commies. No, he doesnt have the funds to do this.

Allow me to clarify:

I do not believe that Ickes will prove to be the source of the funds. I'm not making any guesses about that yet. I'm just predicting that he was the one who devised the pyramid scheme and picked Hsu to run it, due to his proven track record.

Posted by NahnCee | September 9, 2007 12:12 PM

ARe the Paws and the Lees American citizens? If so, how long have they been citizens?

I've noticed wandering around through the undergrowth of Los Angeles that there seem to be gazillions of Chinese here, and have wondered to myself sometimes why the Chinese government would allow such unimpeded outflow of their best and brightest to come to live in America.

Although they don't blow us up or run airplanes into our skyscrapers, maybe we should be a little bit more haughty in who we allow into America from China.

Posted by flenser | September 9, 2007 12:14 PM

The funds most likely came from duped American investors.

The NYT is happy to run this on the front page because they want to derail Hillary's Presidential bid. Those who think that Times only opposes right wing conservatives are not paying close enough attention. Giuliani backers, this means you.

Posted by MagicalPat | September 9, 2007 12:17 PM

He's not a terrorist or an agent of a foreign power...

We shall see, shan't we. I wonder if he does end up being an agent for a foreign power, if he left will allow us to get back on his case.

Or should we still be pursuing Larry Craig?

Posted by unclesmrgol | September 9, 2007 1:01 PM


You can safely assume that they are American citizens. Not that it matters; they appear to be accessories in crime, regardless of their citizenship.

Hsu's first California scheme left over $1M missing (or maybe it was his second scheme; his gangster kidnapping appears to have been by creditors). Want to bet that this latest one has over $2M missing, and that a substantial portion of those funds are now in the hands of the State of California? When the dust settles, I think we are going to see a whole bunch of knowing launderers (like the Paws and the Lees), and another batch of scammed people, who never realized they were contributing to a politician rather than investing in a business.

Jim Treacher,

While TalkLeft is technically right, the corrosion and tarnish left on our political processes is permanent. I wonder if they'd feel the same if some conservative went in and hacked their site. I suspect the "it's only electrons -- get a life!" argument to them would go about as far as I can toss a 1963 Buick Wildcat.

Posted by flenser | September 9, 2007 1:09 PM

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

I don't recall the left displaying this sort of sober and level-headed "perspective" when Jack Abramoff tried to "contribute to our political process". These people have no shame.

Posted by viking01 | September 9, 2007 1:10 PM

It's just a matter of time before Sandy Burglar steals the incriminating documents.

Who spilled the soy sauce on Hillary's bribe, uh, contribution checks? Eliot Spitzer is already claiming it was "second-hand" soy sauce and wants all soy sauce banned.

Posted by Jim Treacher | September 9, 2007 1:41 PM

Yeah, the politicians he donated to say they're going to give the money to charity. How about giving it back to the people he stole it from?

Posted by Trochilus | September 9, 2007 1:57 PM

How about . . . A Poi Named Hsu . . .

It is, after all, quite clearly a juggling act.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 9, 2007 2:17 PM

I don't think this is too hard to answer.

Hsu, unsuccessful as a businessman; must have found the conduit from the drug lords, who wanted to buy access. But keep the "donor's names" hidden. He provided "cover." On the run.

His stock probably went up when Abramoff's went down?

Not that you're ever gonna clear out the sewer pipes that unload into our magestic rivers; and out to sea.

It's up to the ocean's currents to steady the flow. And, not impede with the traffic of the ships at sea.

That he got caught?

Wow. His mind must have went, first.

So, if the psychiatric part is true? He'll land in a soft padded cell; instead of behind bars. But he will be housed under lock and key.

Until Hillary pulls rank.

Posted by michaele | September 9, 2007 4:41 PM

The GOP spokes people have to come up with a mantra like "the culture of corruption" and use it loudly and constantly when referring to this scandal. Captain, maybe you can run a contest for the damning phrase to describe this.

Posted by Get to the Truth | September 9, 2007 5:30 PM

The big question is not were did the money come from but what did they want for their money.

No one is asking what they wanted for the hundreds of thousands/millions of dollars they spent.

Someone(s) paid a lot of money to these Dems and they did it illegally. What were they spending the money for?

It easy for Hillary etc to brush this off as 'they know nothing', unless they are asked what did Hsu try to buy with all this illegal money.

Posted by MagicalPat | September 9, 2007 6:57 PM

Here's a song I wrote sung to the tune of SuperCaliFragiListicExpiAliDocious...

It's called:

Hsu-per California Donors Extradition Opus


Hsu-per California Donors Extradition Opus
Every check that bore his name,
it should have been suspicious
His businesses and domiciles
it turns out were fictitious
Hsu-per California Donors Extradition Opus


Norman Hsu had a technique,
For fund-raising flimflam
From Istanbul to Mozambique,
It kept him on the lam
He gathered filthy lucre
in amounts you’d call absurd
And laundered it to liberals
from Clinton to Bob Byrd


He’d channel some cash through his friends,
and bundle up the rest
Supporting only Democrats
became his whole life’s quest
The Chi-Coms and George Soros
funneled millions carelessly
Hsu’d ask them who to give it to
and both said Hillary!


Even though it’s not legal,
there’s no need for dismay
He gave it all to Blue Staters,
there won’t be hell to pay
Cause if you look at Democrats,
the whole party is rife
With people, if Republican,
who’d probably serve life.


Posted by Yoop | September 9, 2007 7:10 PM

[Posted by michaele | September 9, 2007 4:41 PM]
"The GOP spokes people have to come up with a mantra like "the culture of corruption" and use it loudly and constantly when referring to this scandal. Captain, maybe you can run a contest for the damning phrase to describe this."

Ok, I'll try:

"Want to help fund my campaign? Get together with a lawyer friend and Hsu me!"


"Hsu now, settle later!"

Posted by PersonFromPorlock | September 9, 2007 7:36 PM

LOL. How about: "The Democrats are a Hsu-in?"

Posted by DuggerSD | September 9, 2007 7:49 PM

Get to the Truth finally got the comment I was looking for. Jack Abramoff did not give all of the money to politicians because he is a nice guy. Obviously he wanted something. So, the real question is what do the people Hsu got the money from want? Sure, many of them are giving money to charity now that they got caught. But what did they promise in order to get the money?

Posted by rabidfox | September 9, 2007 8:26 PM

Dugger, I'm guessing that if it's the Chinese who funded Hsu, then Tiawan is toast if shrillery is elected.

Posted by mistercalm | September 9, 2007 9:49 PM

Not to put too much DU conspiracy theory spin on anything, but I wonder if the Colorado Springs hospital has run tests on Hsu to see if he was poisoned? I think the money is coming from a source with deep, deep pockets. How deep are the pockets in Chinese trousers? It wouldn't the be the first yen a Clinton has garnered by selling things that weren't theirs to sell.

Posted by Chris Cook | September 9, 2007 9:53 PM

Come on folks. Remember the "progressives" from the '20's who populated Roosevelt's first administration and how "surprised" they were when they found out Uncle Joe was a cold-blooded mass murderer? This is one more episode in a long series of sad tales that demonstrates the left is either incredibly stupid, or want to bring this country down. I recall the "interference" that John Glenn ran for President Clinton in the Senate's Campaign Financial scandal hearings. From that point forward, he ceased to be a hero to me. He was just another Demoncrat traitor willing to sell out this country for political gain. I wonder who will be Hillary's Glenn? Who can say what was given to the PRC in return for campaign cash, and what has been promised by the most corrupt candidate for the Demoncrat nomination.

Posted by TmjUtah | September 9, 2007 11:41 PM

It's all Hsushine...

Not even the NY Times wants to be the vehicle that fully diagrams this mess.

Unfortunately for legacy media, this story isn't as simple as an intern horking the chief executive in the oval office. The job of breaking the story is simply too complicated to be shovelled over to the tabloids.

The story is also too dangerous. Financially, and possibly even physically. No lead media outfit - not even FOX - is laying out what they know. The Times references a razor thin slice of FEC documents, rehashes some previously reported Hsu facts, and then...

... they just walk away. This story has been going on two weeks. I don't begin to believe that today's story represents all the research they have.

No word yet from the Justice department or the FEC if they have any dogs in this fight. The media isn't asking why. They aren't asking even with the full knowledge they could immediately spin a "BushCo political persecution" angle that would be eaten up by their last paying customers.

But they won't ask. Nobody in their cocktail circuit wants to be the one to put the Clintons - and very probably the entire Democrat fundraising apparatus - on the bricks.

Posted by Bikerken | September 10, 2007 1:21 AM

I think Hillbillery has more Hsu's in her closet than Imelda Marcos.

Posted by onlineanalyst | September 10, 2007 6:50 AM

John Fund notes in today's WSJ "Opinion Journal" this tidbit that shows the latest effort by the Clinton-enablers' spin machine:

"Clinton defenders suggest that those who make comparisons between the sloppy vetting of Mrs. Clinton's 2008 campaign and her husband's 1996 scandal are bigots because of the presence of Asian names in both cases. Margaret Fung, director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, says any comparison "insinuates" that Asian-Americans are more prone to making illegal donations and represents an "obsession" with Asian donors. Nonsense. It shows that Team Clinton seems to have a recurring problem vetting its donors. It seems to have learned nothing from its 1996 experience, and just may be repeating it."

from "John Fund on the Trail":

I see. Questioning unethical and illegal campaing financing practices is "racist". I'm glad that issue was cleared up. (/s) Let's move along. There is nothing to see in this train wreck.

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