November 1, 2007

Did The Post Miss A Step In Chinatown?

According to one of Hillary Clinton's donors, the Department of Justice has begun investigating the candidate's fund-raising activities. The AP reports that the DoJ came calling to one donor whose contribution came among many from New York's Fujian community, which have come under as much scrutiny as those bundled by the notorious Norman Hsu. However, the story shows a potential glaring error on the part of the New York Post's reporting on the story:

On the wall of Hsiao Yen Wang's apartment, a cramped, 17th-floor public housing unit on the city's Lower East Side, are photographs of her husband, David Guo, a cook who specializes in Fujian cuisine.

One photo stands out: Guo shaking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's hand, a memento from a $1,000-a-person fundraiser for the New York senator held in New York's Chinatown last April.

Last week, Wang got another memento — a calling card from a Justice Department criminal investigator. The investigator asked Wang if she was coerced into giving money to the campaign and whether she knew of anybody else who may have been forced to contribute.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Wang said she and her husband had given willingly and that she knew of no coercion. A Justice Department spokeswoman would not comment on the inquiries.

Eleven days ago, I noted that the Chinatown Dodge had expanded. The New York Post and the Los Angeles Times had each tried tracking down the donors listed on campaign reports, only to discover phony addresses, a shop for pirated goods, and at least one person who admitted serving as a straw man for David Guo, a local leader in the Fujian community.

In fact, according to the AP, it's the same person as the AP interviewed. On October 21, Charles Hurt and Elaine Chan reported that Hsiao Yen Wang admitted to laundering the cash for Guo's benefit. "Wang told The Post that Guo had repaid her for the $1,000 contribution" is the exact quote. It turns out that Guo is Wang's husband, at least according to Adam Goldman and Jim Kuhnhenn of the AP, apart from being the "president of the Fujian American Cuisine Council".

So the big story is that Wang cut a separate check for a candidate her husband supported? That's not much of an issue, politically or legally -- and the Post made it look like Guo manipulated the money from someone unconnected to him. Perhaps the Post didn't realize Guo was Wang's husband, but they should have asked why, which would have elicited the answer. The AP figured it out.

The rest of the AP report makes it clear that the DoJ has some interest in this case, and that plenty of questions remain. At least in the case of Wang and Guo, however, the Post didn't do its own homework very well.

UPDATE: Hot Air has more. Also, Guo wasn't a bundler, and I removed that reference.

UPDATE II: Corrected "Fijian" to "Fujian" in two places.


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