August 30th, 2007
07:56 PM ET
12 years ago

Dems rush to dump donations from fugitive fundraiser

Hillary Clinton will donate contributions from Norman Hsu

NEW YORK (CNN) - The campaigns for a number of Democrats, including Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, said Thursday they have returned or given to charity donations from fund-raiser Norman Hsu, who has an open bench warrant for his arrest in California.

"Obviously, we were all surprised by this news," the junior senator from New York said during a news conference with Gov. Eliot Spitzer, whose campaign confirmed that he too returned donations from Hsu.

Clinton said the news was unexpected. "I think it's fair to say we were all very surprised by this," she said about the $23,000 her campaign received.

Hsu came under scrutiny after news reports questioned his fund-raising and revealed he has a criminal record.

"He's a fugitive and subject to arrest," said Ronald Smetana, in California's office of the attorney general. He said Hsu pleaded no contest in 1991 to a charge of grand theft, but never showed up for sentencing. Smetana said Hsu was accused of bilking investors of $1 million and could have been sentenced to up to three years in prison and ordered to pay restitution.

"In cases like this, a fugitive can turn himself in, or be arrested in another state and extradited to our state," Smetana said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that six members of the family of a San Francisco mail carrier, William Paw, have donated a total of $45,000 to Clinton since 2005, and that the donations match Hsu's.

The donations were listed on the Federal Exchange Commission's Web site and on

An online directory of addresses lists Hsu at the same address as the mail carrier.

On Tuesday, Hsu's attorney disputed any suggestion that his client had improperly directed contributions.

A spokesman for Obama said his campaign had given $7,000 in contributions from Hsu to charity and sent a letter to the Paws to affirm that their contributions were from their own funds and not those of others.

Other Democratic candidates announced they too are purging their campaigns of Hsu's contributions, including comedian Al Franken, a U.S. Senate candidate in Minnesota; U.S. Rep. Michael Honda of California; and U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania.

In a written statement, Hsu said Wednesday that he was "surprised to learn that there appears to be an outstanding warrant - as demonstrated by the fact that I have and do live a public life."

He added, "I have not sought to evade any obligations and certainly not the law."


soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Phil, annapolis, MD

    wow, take a look at that picture. two smarmy characters.

    August 31, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. jon, Cashiers, NC

    thanks diam for pointing this out about our military secrets being given to the Chinese. this is something everyone should know about but the media would never run with it since it was good ol' Bill that did it and should be hung for treason.

    August 31, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    I think that comment proves that this network is far from being the"clinton news network"and should display everyone how ignorant the red americans are.I think the bush supporters are getting the feeling that there are going to be treason charges against their leaders.That's usually why they'll blame Clinton for engaging in something similar to the crime which they know they're guilty of,just to throw out the name of a charge in hopes of de-sensitizing their base for damage control.

    August 31, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. Desert Viking

    I don't really like Hillary, but I have to think if there was something really dirty here with Chinese money, our media would have been efficient enough to pick it apart years ago. Unless its true that Bill is the illegitimate kid of Kennedy, then all bets are off about anybody investigating anything about the Clintons!


    September 1, 2007 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  5. Dave, Cincinnati, OH

    As far as the China Satellite technology, it should be noted that it was the Reagan Administartion that originally allowed U.S. satellites to be launched by PRC Rockets. The "leaks" that have been refered to also involved Hughes Aerospace and Motorola-all companies that used PRC rockets to launch their satellites and were all accused of helping the Chinese by giving them feedback regarding their satellite launches.

    There may be an underlying issue as to whether we want to allow the PRC to launch our satellites, but it has nothing to do with Selling National Secrets.

    September 11, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. JP, HuntingtonBeach CA

    I am astonished (well maybe not that astonished) it has taken the candidates this long to see the issues clearly. The Hsu network campaign contributions were the fruit of Hsu's crooked schemes. The moneys should be returned in total to be distributed to the defrauded investors and partners.

    Making (or accepting) charitable contributions of these tainted funds would not be fair to those Hsu defrauded.

    September 20, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
1 2