September 11th, 2007
02:09 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton fundraiser found in 'fetal position' on train

The Clinton campaign said Monday that it will return money solicited by Norman Hsu from more than 250 donors.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A day after Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign announced it was returning $850,000 raised by fugitive fundraiser Norman Hsu, new details have emerged about his capture last week, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal.

The disgraced Democratic fundraiser, who is under investigation for investment fraud in the 1990's, failed to appear in court last Wednesday. He was later found on an Amtrak train headed for Chicago.

The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Monday night and in the newspaper’s print edition Tuesday, that it was not a pleasant trip for Hsu.

Another passenger, Joanne Segale, tells the newspaper she noticed several items spill out of his sleeping cabin, and when she peeked through the window and "saw a man who appeared to be in fetal position, bare-chested."

"It appeared this person had fallen out of bed," she told Journal.

A crowbar was needed to open the Hsu’s cabin where he was found on the ground and unable to walk, the Journal reported.

Segale also told the newspaper she noticed "lots and lots of medication in that room. I could see pills on the floor and rolling around."

Hsu was taken to a Colorado hospital and then taken into custody by the FBI.

Hsu has also given to other Democratic candidates, including Clinton's chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Barack Obama.

UPDATE: Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Karen Finney tells CNN's Shirley Zilberstein the DNC is now re-vetting those contributions that were raised for the committee by Hsu between 2004-2007 and verifying them with the donors directly. Hsu raised approximately $47,000 for the committee in that time.

Related: Dems rush to dump donations from fugitive fundraiser

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Norman Hsu
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Chip Celina OH

    dawn, Gaithersburg:

    You write:

    "If you believe the thoroughly debunked gossip that the Clintons improperly fundraised and/or sold state secrets to China, Ken Starr has a bridge in Iraq, he'd like to sell you. PLEASE … some facts or logic or something other than 10 year old talking points."

    Your posts often contain well formed arguments and the use of QED shows you know some mathematics. But, the "thoroughly debunked gossip" you refer to ended up in 22 guilty pleas by the parties involved.

    Perhaps they had a 'wide stance' or were not properly represented by an attorney.

    In addition from the Wall Street Journal:

    "Last week, a leading Clinton supporter and fund-raiser in New Jersey, Mayor Samuel Rivera of Passaic, was arrested on bribery charges in an FBI sting operation. In March, businessman Abdul Rehman "Ray" Jinnah fled the country after being indicted on charges he funneled illegal contributions to Mrs. Clinton and other Democrats."

    From a NY Times article:

    “People have often said about the Clintons, they don’t care who they hang out with as long as the people can be helpful to them,” said one of Mrs. Clinton’s major fund-raisers. “The larger point in all of this is that the Clintons are the ultimate pragmatists in who they hang out with; if you can be useful to them, they will find a way to make it work.”

    Advisers say Mrs. Clinton is not so much furious about the scandal, as she is worried about containing the political damage. "

    From an August 28th LA Times article:

    "In just the last 36 months Hsu has been involved in raising more than $1 million for Clinton and other Democrats. Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, confirmed today that Hsu had been a "longtime and generous supporter" of the party including Clinton. "We have no reason to call his contributions into question or to return them," Wolfson added.

    It is my assessment, that even the appearance of impropriety breeds suspicion of such. We've heard tons of excuses about 'not knowing' the details, 'we can't vet every donor' etc. etc. ad nauseum. Mr. Hsu was not the average everyday donor, he was in FACT (something you asked for) a "Hillraiser", the "best of the best", an elite, one could say .... operative. She has had a 'business' relationship with this man for quite some time, more than the TWO weeks you note in your post. Furthermore, the New York Times (a bastion of right wing conspiracy journalism) reports "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.

    From the same story, "The Clinton campaign has been monitoring coverage of the Hsu case. “We don’t think the Hsu story has broken through with voters at this point,” one Clinton adviser said. “And we’re going to keep trying to make sure it doesn’t overshadow her message.

    She is relying on the ignorance of the American public, a safe bet, but what IS her message.

    We've seen her talk a good game about health care since the early 90's, and pass some incremental legislation to that end. Do those 'achievements' hide the earmark payola Mr. Hsu received last year for Eugene Lang college? Do they outweigh the TATA deal that outsourced myriad jobs from her district to overseas?

    I will grant that she is a GREAT politician. She's been involved in it all of her adult life. What this country doesn't need is another great politician in the White House, Washington is full of great politicians and we see what is getting done...absolutley nothing.

    We need a leader with some vision, a creative problem solver that can think on their feet. Methinks Hill comes up on the short end of the stick in that regard.

    Of course we can mudsling and say Obama does it, Edwards does it, the Republicans do it, lobbyists do it but is that what this nation has come to?

    Have a good day,

    September 12, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    John Edwatds's hands are dirty too!

    Just last month, a Detroit-area attorney was indicted for making $125,000 in illegally bundled contributions to Edwards' 2004 presidential campaign.

    This explains why Edwards and Obama keep quiet.

    September 12, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  3. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Claude – I see it....its the people with Gore/Libermann and Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers still on their cars who will never see in CT...we call them State Rep x ....and Senator...try living near them (highest tax rate in the country....all run by Democrats....) – side note – we have a Republican Governor...but...she's weak

    September 12, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. RightyTighty

    Oh yeah, the dems are going to get exactly want they deserve. Another Republican President. HAHA!!

    September 12, 2007 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. Bill W, Coatesville, PA

    Let her get the Democratic nomination. Then this and a million other horror stories from her little stint as Senator and her time in the White House will come out and absolutley bury her.

    Hillary is the Republican Party's best candidate. She has NO CHANCE to win. And WHEN she doesn't, what happens to all the funds she raised for this presidential run if she doesn't spend them? Does she get to keep them and be a millionaire? That'd be my guess as to the real reason she's running anyway. She honestly CAN'T expect to win with her history, no matter WHAT the Republicans have done for the past 8 years.

    September 12, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. Chip Celina OH

    dawn, Gaithersburg,

    I had a nice post with about 5 or 6 references to WSJ, NY and LA Times showing that Mrs. Clinton was aware that fundraising tactics reminiscent of 1996 would look bad and for her staff to take care not to let the appearance of those tactics emerge. That she had a long term knwledge/relationship with Mr. Hsu, that he was a "Hillraiser", and a college he is on the board of governors of received a $950,000 earmark from the good Senator last July. That at least two other prominent Clinton fundraisers are in trouble (one of them also skipped bail and left the country). That Mr. Hsu had been vetted by the Clinton campaign. Just go to google and type in "clinton hsu scandal" and click around. The information is there if you dig. I addressed every point in your post and covered it well. The thoroughly debunked gossip you referred to resulted in 22 guilty pleas by actionable parties.

    Of course, the senator can't personally vet each donor, so she must rely on her appointed minions to do the legwork for her....shades of Cheney and Rumsfeld? Perhaps.

    I'd also like to thank CNN for deleting a post that may have enlightened a voter no doubt dedicated to Senator Clinton.

    Now, about that ther oil on the property on which it sits?

    Have a good day,

    September 12, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. Chip Celina OH

    Sweet, my comment reappeared! Just like magic or maybe just a server problem. Gotta get that refresh button into the shop. Darned browsers!

    My apologies for assuming a deletion.

    Happy Wednesday!

    September 12, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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