September 21, 2007

Hsu's Method To His Madness

Most people who puzzle over the efforts of Norman Hsu focus, and rightly so, on where Hsu came up with the boatloads of money that went to Democratic candidates and organizations. Flip Pidot at Suitably Flip decided to ask another question -- why did Hsu donate to certain candidates and not others? Flip discovers an indirect link to Bill Clinton's cabinet:

This is peculiar. As an A-list Democratic fundraiser, Hsu is typically the bundler in these transactions, not the bundlee. So what gives?

Lillian Vernon is a trinket catalog company, perhaps best known for its constant lampooning on Mad TV. It was founded by Lillian Hochberg in Mount Vernon, NY (clever, eh?) in 1951. Lillian's son Fred is the current CEO and his brother David is an executive at the company.

If you run a search for Fred Hochberg's own federal political contributions, the telltale Hsu pattern once again emerges. The same goes for Lillian Vernon's corporate contributions. From all the federal and state records, as well as the municipal filings in New York, L.A., and San Francisco, I've compiled a full accounting of the donations made by both the company itself and Fred and David Hochberg and updated the Google spreadsheet with a separate Hochberg tab.

Who is Fred Hochberg? He's a fellow Hillraiser, and thanks to the serendipity of alpabetization, his name appears adjacent to Hsu on the Hillraiser roster. Hochberg also served as Bill Clinton's Small Business Administration administrator, a position which Clinton subsequently raised to Cabinet level (and Bush demoted). Hochberg also appeared on the infamous "White House Coffee" guest lists.

Read all of Flip's work. He's doing first-rate work, uncovering some uncomfortable connections.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Hsu's Method To His Madness:

» Hillary and the Razor? from what if?
Occam's razor is a bedrock principle in my calculations. What is Occam's razor?when you have two competing theories which make exactly the same predictions, the one that is simpler is the better.When we look at the very curious Hsu fundraising, [Read More]

» Hsocking Hsu Secrets Revealed! from Suitably Flip
If there's one thing that can be said about Clinton financial scandals, it's that they tend to be complex. And thus far, the Norman Hsu debacle is living up to the archetype. [Read More]

» Are Candidates Responsible for the Foibles of Their Supporters from The Pink Flamingo

Comments (23)

Posted by rbj | September 21, 2007 10:06 AM

End campaign contribution limits, just make sure all candidates list who's giving how much to them.

Posted by T.G. Scott | September 21, 2007 10:20 AM

I used to get this little catalog in the mail and would sometimes order little trinkets out of it. Thanks for the heads up. From now on it will go in the round file (the trash bin).

Posted by Crash | September 21, 2007 10:22 AM

Agree with Hugh Hewitt, it's special prosecutor time!

Posted by brooklyn - hnav | September 21, 2007 10:33 AM

Lenin's term 'useful idiots' comes to mind.

What did Sandy put in his pants anyhow?

So many corrupt Clintonites, so little time...

Hillary wants to be President again, after enabling Radical Muslim Militancy for 8 long negligent years before 9-11.

The Clintons tried to appease the nutty North Korean Tyrant, including a gift of an autographed Michael Jordan Basketball, only to be embarrassed later as NK was predictably exposed to have cheated on the deal the entire time.

The 'hands on' Hillary, could not even organize an orderly move from the White House, having acquired a number of items which were not for the taking.

I will never forget, this antique coin worth 10,000 USD owned by the People of the USA, being found in the Clinton's possession valued only at Ten Bucks.

Hillary suggested she did not even know her own Brothers were peddling pardons, when one of the Rodham Boys had turned the White House Map Room into his own penthouse suite.

Now Hillary has slandered a Brave US General, fighting for freedom overseas, and refused to vote to rebuke an ugly ad in a liberal newspaper.

She and her husband would greatly aid this Nation, by getting out of public service, and taking a long vacation somewhere else.

Time to go...

Get off the National Stage.

The smell is stifling.

We have had enough cackling laughs, finger waging, and big fat lies.

Posted by burt | September 21, 2007 10:51 AM

I am overwhelmed with disgust.

Posted by docjim505 | September 21, 2007 10:53 AM

A few commenters have expressed the opinion that Hsu is some sort of ChiCom agent. While this MAY be so (he MAY also be a space alien), it seems more likely that he's just a spectacular con man (think Henry Gondorf) with a penchant for politics. He knows which palms to grease to stay out of jail (Spitzer, for example).

It will be interesting to see what the investigation turns up... and if it turns up ANYTHING prior to the election. Too much info about Hsu is bad news for the Hilldabeast, so don't expect either the DoJ or the MSM to exert themselves too much prior to election day in looking into Hsu, his methods or his motives.

Posted by Tom Shipley | September 21, 2007 11:00 AM

it's now becoming increasingly far-fetched that Hillary took Norman Hsu for no more than a kindly, deep-pocketed fan.

Really? Hsu knew a former Clinton cabinet member's mother, and had one of his contributions through her and made similar donations as her son of 4 occasions.

This shows that these people knew each other and made donations, perhaps after consulting or corroboration.

It shows no evidence that either Hochbergs knew anything about Hsu's criminal past, much Hillary Clinton.

So to say:

it's now becoming increasingly far-fetched that Hillary took Norman Hsu for no more than a kindly, deep-pocketed fan.

Is really patently ridiculous.

Posted by SSG Fuzzy | September 21, 2007 11:00 AM

Actually, looking at where he got a good portion of his investments from, Rosenman I think his name was, is a close Clinton friend. Could be a way to funnel $60 million dollars to Democrats with deniablity built in. "I was conned!"

Posted by Tom Shipley | September 21, 2007 11:05 AM

To echo DocJim,

It's known that Hsu ingratiated himself into the democratic fundraising scene. So, it's really not surprising to find a connection like this.

Until evidence comes to light that Hsu was an agent of the Chinese government, or Hillary was working with Hsu to scam donors or funnel money, this case looks very much like docjim said, "a con man with a penchant for politics."

Posted by Hugh Beaumont | September 21, 2007 11:32 AM

Tom Shipley:

Relax buddy. If there's nothing to worry about, then there's nothing to worry about.

However, the Clinton's have set themselves up for scrutiny. Let the new media follow the leads where they may, all in the name of sunshine.

You have no problem with sunshine creeping into the dark corners of politics, do you?

Didn't think so.

Posted by Tom Shipley | September 21, 2007 11:34 AM

No, but I do have a problem with "guilt by insinuation" politics.

Posted by Hugh Beaumont | September 21, 2007 12:05 PM

The Clinton/Democratic machine back in the day set the following standard:

Even the "appearance of impropriety" is enough to require the appointment of a special prosecutor.

I think we're light years beyond the "appearance of impropriety".

Has the standard now been lowered?

Just sayin.

Posted by dhunter | September 21, 2007 12:09 PM

Hillary Clinton:

Duped by a convicted con man named Hsu into accepting $850,000 in campaign contributions;

Duped by George Bush into authorizing the war in Iraq;

Duped by her husbands intelligenca agenies before 9/11 that Iraq had WMD;

Duped by Monicas' boyfriend, the convicted liar, disbarred, impeached, sexual devaint and rapist,on ocassions too numerous to mention;

Can this great nation afford to have as its' commander in chief someone so easily duped?

Ask her that this weekend Mr. Chris Wallace in your Fox interview, or any of the Rep. candidates that want to prove they have a pair bigger than HERS.

Posted by unclesmrgol | September 21, 2007 12:35 PM

Wow, from the article, this is more than "guilt by insinuation". Matching donor lists, matching amounts.

I wish Flip had published the full Lillian Vernon spreadsheet like he did for Hsu. Running a regression on the 3-space (candidate, amount, date) or even just the 2-space (candidate, amount) between the two datasets would be even more interesting.

Posted by Bikerken | September 21, 2007 12:42 PM

If Hsu was really just a con man, that means that Roseman and others were willing to give this guy tens of millions of dollars without even checking to see who this guy was because he already had a criminal financial past. I find that real hard to swallow. Rich people don't get rich or stay rich being that stupid. I can buy the idea that they were using him as a conduit to illegally funnel millions into the Clinton and dem campaigns to skirt contribution limits, but if that's the real truth, where are the other millions that Hsu got from them that are not accounted for? Now they're talking about 60 million in scams. The reason that the Chicom spy angle keeps coming up is that there is a history here. There have been several documented instances of connections between the Chinese government routing money into the Clinon campaigns. As a matter of fact, I don't recall any of the previous Chinese money scandals that did not have Chicom govt connections.

Sidenote here: Read "Year of the Rat", it will make this whole thing look like deja vu.

So now, Mr. Shipley and friends would have us believe this is something completely different. Ok, it could be, but surely you have to see there is more than enough reason to be skeptical when people like Roseman jump in at the last minute to seemingly provide an explantion of where the money came from when he was silent as a mouse before.

Posted by quickjustice | September 21, 2007 12:53 PM

Shipley and the N.Y. Times have their talking points down. "Norman Hsu was just a crazy con man who charmed junior Clinton staffers. "Hey, you need $50,000, honey? No problem. Looking forward to seeing you this weekend in Vegas in the private suite."

After jumping bail, he's observed prowling an AMTRAK train in Colorado without shoes or shirt, behaving erratically. He's removed for medical reasons. Someone conveniently "recognizes" him, and calls authorities. His lawyers say he got on the wrong train, and suggest that he's mental, creating deniability of anything he says.

He then calls up the FBI repeatedly from his jail cell, and begs to confess without a lawyer. He waives all his legal rights (mental case that he is!), and confesses to the FBI that he was a con man, and that he stole millions.

He further confesses that Hillary knew nothing about it, and that he was using his association with Democrat candidates as window dressing for his fraudulent schemes." Clinton campaign, N.Y. Times, and Shipley: "End of story. More along, folks. Nothing more to see here." Did I get it right, Shipley?

What's wrong with this picture? Norman Hsu, who is represented by counsel in California, begged, just begged, the FBI to bare his soul to them, and then confessed that he was working alone as a con man, and that no one else in the Clinton organization knew any of this?

The Hsu [story] doesn't fit.

Flip makes the following additional points:

1. If Hsu merely was looking for political cover for his cons, why give (almost) exclusively to Democrats, why give overwhelmingly to Hillary Clinton and her supporters, and why coordinate patterns of donations with Hochberg, a former Clinton cabinet member and close friend of the Clintons?

2. Why the cross-bundling? In other words, why give Hochberg money in Hsu's own name to bundle for Hillary? Possible answer: the illegal bundler's "problem" is to find enough warm bodies to serve as shell donors for the dirty money. Why not lend your own name (another warm body) to other bundlers to make their task easier? Were Hochberg and others also bundling dirty money? We won't know until we investigate.

3. A pattern is emerging of Hillary's Clinton's bundlers and donors coordinating their efforts. John Catsimatides, another "Hillraiser", is quoted in the N.Y. Times as saying, "Hsu was a nice man who worked very hard [as a bundler]." How does Catsimatidis know this if the Hillraisers weren't coordinating their fund-raising efforts? How far do their efforts to launder contributions to Hillary and others through shell intermediaries extend?

4. Flip also raises the point that another Hillraiser had extensive business dealings with Communist China during the Clinton Administration. Did he also know Norman Hsu? Did they also cooperate or coordinate their fund-raising, or do any business together?

5. Has the Manchurian candidate conspiracy theory been disproved? It hasn't been proven so far, but on the other hand, we still don't know if Hsu got seed money, or had contacts or confederates in Red China. We know he spent time in Hong Kong, where he busted out. Who staked him for his renewed U.S. confidence venture?

We also don't know if Clinton Hillraisers with prior dealings with Communist China from the days of the Clinton Administration might not have remained in touch with their old associates on the other side of the pond for fund-raising purposes.

Posted by Mike | September 21, 2007 2:09 PM

Anyone here willing to bet on whether or not further investigation over the next few months finds that Hill's $850,000.00 figure is missing something, like maybe a zero or two? I'll wager a $100 donation to whoever wins the Republican nomination for President, and I'll give you two to one odds.

Posted by burt | September 21, 2007 3:31 PM

I posted at Suitably Flip.

I linked from Captains Quarters, my first time here. Fine work.

From Emmett Tyrrell The Clinton Crack-Up page 217.

" By 2004 no senator [except Clinton] since Johnson had amassed so much power so fast. *** at a closed-door meeting with fellow Democrats she assailed her colleague Senator Russ Feingold for the mischief his campaign finance bill had caused her fundraising. 'She tore into Feingold,' a Senate aide says. 'Other people at the caucus were not happy about it. *** ' "

Posted by RBMN | September 21, 2007 4:02 PM

...and if Hsu (the fugitive) got caught providing more campaign money (to Democrats) than he personally had, it might be plausible that Hsu's primary motive was shopping for a future pardon with embezzled money--not just laundering campaign donations for some mysterious third party. Pretty clever if that's the scheme. And a very handy failsafe was that Hsu seems to be the suicidal type. I hate to be so cynical, but with his Clinton connections, it’s well deserved.

Posted by daytrader | September 21, 2007 5:50 PM


wish Flip had published the full Lillian Vernon spreadsheet like he did for Hsu. Running a regression on the 3-space (candidate, amount, date) or even just the 2-space (candidate, amount) between the two datasets would be even more interesting.


He has it up on a google doc site

This is the Vernon listing

Now he is working on the crosstabulation. 


Posted by daytrader | September 21, 2007 5:59 PM

Haven't been able to track down a solid China link yet, but there are some indirect ones.

Also the politicians are all saying Hsu never asked for political favors with all the money he sent their way.

So that leads to the conclusion he was just using association with them and power brokers to give credibitily for his money scams

As a well known con man has said


 Sam E. Antar, the CFO behind the infamous Crazy Eddie Fraud and now the author of the blog White Collar Fraud, explained how fraudsters construct images to coax investors into trusting them:

Fraudsters like myself, we build a whole world of respectability around ourselves. I gave money to a lot of charities while I was committing my fraud. My cousin Eddie, he gave a lot of money with his stolen money to a lot of charities. He gave a lot of money to politicians. He built wings on to hospitals and built a big aura of respectability around him and people were in awe of him. This is what fraudsters do



Posted by unclesmrgol | September 21, 2007 8:51 PM


Thank you.

Posted by Georg Felis | September 24, 2007 9:33 AM

A simple fix to help with this type of problem would be to enforce a simple rule on campaigns: You can't spend the money until the donation is recorded on the FEC website, along with Donor info.

Post a comment