September 12, 2007

Why Didn't Clinton Team Heed Hsu Warnings?

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party received warnings that Hsu had a bad record with money as early as June of this year, several sources report, but did nothing to distance themselves from the Hillraiser. Jack Cassidy, a California businessman who recognized Hsu as a shady character, sent messages imploring Democrats to avoid Hsu, to no avail:

Hillary Clinton's campaign couldn't explain yesterday why it blew off warnings about felon-turned-fund-raiser Norman Hsu - and the Daily News learned FBI agents are collecting e-mail evidence in the widening scandal.

Clinton was forced Monday to give back a whopping $850,000 raised by convicted scam artist Hsu after learning his investment ventures were being probed by the FBI as a potential Ponzi scheme. ...

Yesterday, the campaign insisted it did all it should to vet Hsu after California businessman Jack Cassidy warned in June that Hsu's investment operation was fishy. Cassidy e-mailed his tips to the California Democratic Party, which forwarded them to the Clinton campaign.

It did all it could? That couldn't have been much more than a Google run. The warrant in California had been in effect for almost 15 years by that point, and his record of bankruptcies was easily discovered by the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, both of which have done good reporting on this story. In fact, before his exposure, Hillary's western finance director defended Hsu's non-existent honor in an e-mail to party members, calling him "COMPLETELY legit."

Samantha Wolf no longer works for the campaign. They won't discuss her departure. I think we can conclude why she no longer handles Hillary's finances.

The New York Times reports that Hillary had specifically worried about this kind of scandal:

Of all the possible vulnerabilities facing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign, Mrs. Clinton has long believed that the one of the biggest was money, friends and advisers say. Some sort of fund-raising scandal that would echo the Clinton-era controversies of the 1990s and make her appear greedy or ethically challenged.

As a result, Mrs. Clinton told aides this year to vet major donors carefully and help her avoid situations in which she might appear to be trading access for big money, advisers said. Also to be avoided, the senator said, were fund-raising tactics that might conjure up the Clinton White House coffees and the ties to relatively unknown donors offering large sums, like the Asian businessmen who sent checks to the Democratic National Committee.

Riiiiiiiiiight. Either this is post-Hsu spin, or Hillary has competence issues that rival Alberto Gonzales. Her campaign wants to argue that Hillary made donor vetting Job One, and yet they managed to be duped by a man who had an outstanding warrant for his arrest and whose business contacts all turned out to be false fronts? To believe that Hillary's team put extra effort into vetting their fundraisers, we would have to believe that all of this extra effort failed -- over a three-year period -- to turn up the information that the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times managed to discover within days. Even the NY Times proved Hsu's businesses were phonies in less than a week.

Hillary has been exposed as exactly what the NYT describes -- greedy and ethically challenged. She's not the only Democrat on that list, either, and New Yorkers have even more reasons to suspect that their current Governor and current Attorney General have the same ethical and/or competence deficiencies as their junior Senator.

UPDATE: Stacy McCain interviews Flip Pidot at the Washington Times -- which featured The Q on yesterday's front page. Be sure to read it all.


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Comments (29)

Posted by Carol Herman | September 12, 2007 12:53 PM

When a whore tells you how much it costs, that's the most important part of the transaction.

Hillary has enough negatives, that she probably knows she's as "toasted" as a candidate as Howie Dean, was; when the big boys decided he "had to leave the stage."

Wasnt' pretty.

Looked like bowling pins going down.

How will hillary lose the nomination? You're asking me? I don't predict the future.

But for her to "get it" she has to pull a putin.

Today, at Drudge, people will learn putin dissolved his government. So the KGB rotates their chairs, again; in moscow.

While DRUDGE has up, in red letters, the fact that the Israeli jets just didn't drop garbage cans. Or even test the russian's installation of "NO JAM FOR YOU" anti-aircraft batteries.

What got hit was a nuke installation in syria.

How dumb is dumb? Keep watching.

As to the Bonkeys, who kept asking "where are the WMD's?" They can go travel to syria and look at the former "secret place." Need signs? Go find "this jam's for you." Logenberries, strawberries. Figs.

You give a fig?

Posted by John | September 12, 2007 12:55 PM

WHY is the NYTimes running an article about Hillary's graft and sleaze? This stuff usually gets ignored or put on page A33.

Does the Times think Hillary is so fatally flawed as a candidate they should come out swinging against her now? Better to help sink her now than let her go down to defeat in 3008?

Going to be hard to blame this on the vast right wing conspiricy.

'Hillary's people could not explain'....have we heard this on before? By tomorrow we will be back to the definition of 'is'.

Posted by GarandFan | September 12, 2007 12:56 PM

The Clinton groups excuse that they didn't discover Hzu's past because they failed to use Hzu's middle names in their vetting process is bull crap! Anyone who has done background checks will tell you that they start inquires with first and last names only. They get more possible 'hits' to investigate that way, and thus avoid surprises later on. Middle names are used along with other personal data to whittle down a list, not to start one. At least that's what you do if you WANT to find something.

Posted by onlineanalyst | September 12, 2007 1:02 PM

Key words in the NYT article re Hillary Clinton? "Appear" and "give the appearance of". For moral relativists, appearance trumps reality.

Clintonian strategy? Deny and deflect.

Posted by Kitty C | September 12, 2007 1:08 PM

What number of "I don't know" is this? There must be a compilation in the blog world listing all the 'I don't know's from Hillary. My favorite is "I didn't know Bill was having an affair". Thats the kind of memory we need in a President.

Posted by aterri | September 12, 2007 1:11 PM

People. The Clinton campaign did a check. Mr Hsu was not in any of the FBI files they had on hand, so they determined he was clean.

Posted by viking01 | September 12, 2007 1:26 PM

Easy answer: The Clintoons are narcissistic kleptomaniacs. Their entire lives revolve around self-indulging at the expense of their associates.

A sociologist once asked a thief: "Why do you rob banks?" The thief replied: "Because that's where the money is."

Hillary's reaction just like Slick's is entirely predictable. First they will deny, then attack the messenger, then they will lie unscrupulously to no end. They'll be proclaiming as usual they're innocent victims of a conspiracy against them.

Their dupe following will play right along not knowing any better, or caring. Their presstitutes at the old networks and AP will play blind as usual.

Two Liberals were walking along a road where they see a mugging victim, beaten up and bleeding in the ditch. One Liberal says to the other: "We need to find the guy who did this! He needs help!"

Posted by vnjagvet | September 12, 2007 1:32 PM

This will eventually be too big for even the pro-Clinton MSM to ignore.

Folks like the Captain will make sure of that.

And Hillary! has enough opposition without the same problems in the money department that will keep this alive.

Posted by unclesmrgol | September 12, 2007 1:37 PM

The lobbyists knew a good thing when they saw it. Bill loved their money; why wouldn't Hillary?

Hillary may well have tried to stay clean, but all the dirt from the Era of Bill stuck to her like semen to a blue velvet dress.

The network on this thing is widening:
OLD net: Charlie Trie, Johnny Chung, Norman Hsu.
NEW net: Norman Hsu, unnamed investor interviewed by LA Times:

She said she opposed Clinton's presidential bid but gave money to her campaign anyway. "I can't stand the woman," the investor said.


Posted by Jeff | September 12, 2007 1:43 PM

Asking why Mrs. Clinton took the money is like asking an addict why he smoked the crack.

God knows what sorts of characters she's beholden to. We'll find out when she's president.

God have mercy on our country, methinks she's advanced well into her twilight.

Posted by Immolate | September 12, 2007 1:53 PM

Based on Hillary's intent to return the money to those who gave it to her (Malkin's site), where it may well wind up right back in her hands, I dub this scandal "Laundergate".

Posted by The Yell | September 12, 2007 1:56 PM

Shame on you guys for pulling a "Lazio" and violating her space. Can't you see Hillary's been victimized again? How much is enough? This is the worst violation of her privacy since unknown ninjas hung suspended from the ceiling of the 2nd floor of the White House and dropped a two-foot stack of Rose Law Firm billing records on a coffeetable. And all you can do is attack her. At long last, have you no decency?


Posted by Master Shake | September 12, 2007 2:00 PM

But I saw a Republican jaywalk. Hypocrites!

(Sorry. The trolls apparently haven't woken up yet, so I thought I would introduce their favorite defense.)

Posted by richard mcenroe | September 12, 2007 2:04 PM

Why didn't the Clinton Camp catch this?

Because they wanted the money. What, is this a hard question?

Posted by Ned B | September 12, 2007 2:05 PM

I posted this on Right Wing News.

They did a standard Clinton style check.

Hillary: "Did you look into that Hsu guy?"

Staffer: "Yes Senator"

Hillary: "And?"

Staffer: "The checks cleared Senator"

Hillary: "Then he's Ok. Great!"

Posted by RD | September 12, 2007 3:11 PM

Of course, if Hillary was worried about such a possibility and warned against it then she cannot be faulted for it-her help is to blame...doncha know? (some gum smacking going on here along with the sarcasm)

Posted by onlineanalyst | September 12, 2007 3:34 PM

"Laundergate," Immolate? LOL I guess that is what the Hillraisers call running a clean campaign.

The latest spin response to this scandal is that the charges are racist since so many Asians are implicated in the con. The Dems and their Queen Bee have absolutely no shame. To turn her own words against Gen. Petraeus against her, I might add that Madame Hillary expects us all to have "a willing suspension of disbelief" regarding charges of duplicity in her fund-raising skills.

The clown connected with Woodstock who expected to make a quick killing through connections with Hsu must have learned something from the Mistress Investress, who once made a dandy profit in cattle futures. Apparently both have a long acquaintance, going back to their Yale days.

Posted by Papa Ray | September 12, 2007 3:36 PM

Well, no matter. But after this, Soros is going to have to invent new ways to fund his favorites.

Papa Ray

Posted by GaryK | September 12, 2007 3:57 PM

Hillary being Hillary didn't care in the least where the money was coming from as long as it just kept coming.

Posted by Tim W | September 12, 2007 4:01 PM

What amazes me about the article in the Times is this line; "The campaign will try to get most of the donors to give the money back right after the refunds, said a senior Democratic strategist who advises Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. “That’s the plan,” the strategist said".

Although the money is technically "clean", it still makes her look like a money grubbing whore who is seriously ethically challenged. I am amazed that they would admit to the media that they are basically going to launder the money in plain sight. It seems like a politically retarded position to take for someone who has been running a good campaign so far and can raise millions at will. I guess they realize their campaign finances are about to take a serious blow going forward.

Between this story and the story in the WSJ, this scandal gets more interesting every day.

Posted by John Wilson | September 12, 2007 4:08 PM

Hillary and the girls have a political tin ear that comes from an extreme sense of entitlement both by way of their gender and especially their education. The trouble is that no one really wants her to be president on the liberal side. She's got a real problem here.

Posted by dhunter | September 12, 2007 4:12 PM

She's going to run again in 3008? does that mean she's going to loose in 2008 or going to change the rules and allow HERSELF to be president forever?
Forever, have mercy dear God, I can't stand this corrupt witch for two minutes much less forever.
Goes for her side kick Monicas' boyfiend also.

Posted by Hunter McDaniel | September 12, 2007 4:20 PM

I hold no brief for the Clintons, but I suspect this could just as easily happen to one of ours. The need for money in a presidential campaign is enormous, and all of the campaign finance "reforms" make the process truly Byzantine - that's what creates the opening for operators like Hsu

A few more things worth considering:
a) Hsu was pretty good at conning lots of people. There may be a few people who smelled a rat, but most didn't.
b) If the information about Hsu's prior history was so obvious, why didn't it come out during the Kerry campaign or even sooner?
c) After any scandal or tragedy, you can always find someone who "warned" it might happen.

Posted by John Van Laer | September 12, 2007 5:53 PM

In order to recognize that many contributions were illegal, the Clinton campaign had no need to be aware of Hsu's background. All they needed to do was look at the amounts. The figures universally cited indicate a grand total of 850,000 dollars from around 260 donors. Hence the average donation was well in excess of the legal limit of 2300 for both elections: primary and general. Given the statistical tendency of donations to clump around the median, with a long thin tail of extra-large amounts, there had to be many checks that substantially exceeded $2300. How tough is it for a campaign worker to notice the size of a check? The BCRA may be deplorable, but there is nothing "Byzantine" about the well-known legal limit for individual donors.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | September 12, 2007 6:41 PM

Hunter McDaniel asks:

"If the information about Hsu's prior history was so obvious, why didn't it come out during the Kerry campaign or even sooner?"

That's a very good question, and there's no good answer. Here's one half-baked theory, for what it's worth.

I think the media truly wanted Jean-Claude Kerry to win in 2004, but then realized that if he did win Hillary wouldn't be able to run in 2008. Same with the Democrat Party. And then when the Swift Boats came along, they did the heavy lifting to enable Bush to win, and the Hsu story was all but forgotten.

As far as it coming out earlier than that, it's because the media would never do anything to cast doubt on Bill Clinton.

Posted by patrick neid | September 12, 2007 7:22 PM

The Clinton's can best be described as "rogue" attorneys. Which is to say they know exactly what law they are about to break and so they "seed" the background with comments, emails and the like so in the event they are caught they can point to these earlier statements as evidence of their innocence.

This has been their M.O. since the Arkansas days. Several of their old partners have said as much. When you get a president arguing the merits of the definition of "is" you get all you need to know.

With 90% of reporters voting democrat is near impossible for the Clinton's to go down, especially on something like this Hsu affair. Her supporters WANT to be lied to.

Posted by harleycon5 | September 12, 2007 7:44 PM

The Clinton's have had it good for a long while, so why would they fear being challenged?

The lauding old media has always been the willing and faithful ally of Bill and Hill. No matter what scandal, they always move to bury it with surprising speed. Being a Democrat and being Clinton has been a veritable cakewalk.

What they are not factoring into this equation is exactly as a few members commenting have mentioned: The days of Old media dominance are diminishing. The very shield of govt corruption, with definite favoritism toward the Democrat machine, is breaking down. Thousands of bloggers, as well as the very intelligent folk who contribute, know when they smell a rat.

Hillary's plan is one of considering the average American as stupid. She thinks she can comment on corruption like she has no idea what corruption is. We will have to remind her. Perhaps she can find all the furniture she "borrowed" from the Whitehouse.

This time it will be no cakewalk for the Clintons, as America is watching and reporting.

Posted by Moneyrunner | September 12, 2007 8:43 PM

The amount of money Norman Hsu raised for the Democrats continues to be a mystery. Just like the source of all this political cash and the reasons behind his purchase of access to the top Democrats in the country.

Originally, reports put Hsu’s contributions to all campaigns at something like $600,000. Originally Hillary’s campaign decided to give about $23,000 to charity, this being the amount they claim that Hsu gave directly. They have now upped the ante to $850,000.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign said Monday it will return $850,000 in donations raised by Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu, who is under federal investigation for allegedly violating election laws.
Clinton, D-N.Y., previously had planned only to give to charity $23,000 she received from Hsu for her presidential and senatorial campaigns and to her political action committee, HillPac.

The FBI is investigating whether Hsu paid so-called straw donors to send campaign contributions to Clinton and other candidates, a law enforcement official said Monday.

All of a sudden the Clinton camp blows past the $600,000 discussed by the media. And then of course there are the contributions to the dozens of other prominent Democrats.

Before this is over the “hundreds of thousands” figure that is frequently quoted will have grown to millions.

From the WSJ:

A Wall Street Journal analysis of campaign finance reform records has linked Mr. Hsu with at least $1.8 million in donations to Democrats since 2004.

I confidently predict that number will go much higher.

Which bring us back to the question, where did Hsu get the money and why did he give it to the Democrats? Why is it important to this Chinese swindler to have Hillary in the White House and Democrats running the country?

Posted by cali_sun | September 13, 2007 1:12 PM

Always remember: "The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil!" We all know that the Clinton's have always been 'for sale".

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