Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Udall Camp Recipient of Confessed Swindler's Contribution

Norman Hsu headlines today as a major Democratic Party fund-raiser who pleaded guilty in 1991 to grand theft swindling charges but skipped out on an agreement to serve a prison sentence. According to Federal Elections Commission (FEC) records, Hsu gave $1,000 to Boulder liberal Mark Udall's Senate campaign on June 25, 2007. (HT: Face the State)

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported alleged contribution laundering from Mr. Hsu through a middle-class California family:

Six members of the Paw family, each listing the house at 41 Shelbourne Ave. as their residence, have donated a combined $45,000 to the Democratic senator from New York since 2005, for her presidential campaign, her Senate re-election last year and her political action committee. In all, the six Paws have donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005, election records show....

It isn't obvious how the Paw family is able to afford such political largess. Records show they own a gift shop and live in a 1,280-square-foot house that they recently refinanced for $270,000. William Paw, the 64-year-old head of the household, is a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service who earns about $49,000 a year, according to a union representative. Alice Paw, also 64, is a homemaker. The couple's grown children have jobs ranging from account manager at a software company to "attendance liaison" at a local public high school. One is listed on campaign records as an executive at a mutual fund.

The Paws' political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address, according to public records. Mr. Hsu is one of the top fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign. He has hosted or co-hosted some of her most prominent money-raising events....

Kent Cooper, a former disclosure official with the Federal Election Commission, said the two-year pattern of donations justifies a probe of possible violations of campaign-finance law, which forbid one person from reimbursing another to make contributions.

"There are red lights all over this one," Mr. Cooper said.

There is no public record or indication Mr. Hsu reimbursed the Paw family for their political contributions.

A lot more questions need to be asked here, starting with this one: With such a taint of swindling and possible campaign law violations hovering around Mr. Hsu, should Udall return the contribution?

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