Friday, September 7, 2007

Hillary Clinton Fugitive Fundraiser Nabbed in Colorado

I wonder if Hilary Clinton will trot out the “vast right-wing conspiracy” line again now that her chief fundraiser, Norman Hsu, has been arrested on “unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.”

Hsu’s troubles stem from 1991 charges of felony theft. Hsu plead “nolo contendere” to those charges and then skipped out. Court and law enforcement authorities in the state of California were apparently too busy to follow up on the matter because the charges were left to float until the Wall Street Journal wrote a story about two weeks ago detailing how Mr. Hsu was one of Hillary Clinton’s chief fundraisers. The WSJ reports also that Mr. Hsu was a fund-raising dynamo for Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell who describes Norman Hsu as a long-time personal friend.

In the strictly subjective sense, I would say that acknowledgement of a friendship with the shady Pennsylvania governor casts more of an aspersion upon Mr. Hsu than the other way around. Governor Rendell, in typical lawyerly fashion, crafted a careful statement that, although Norman Hsu was still his friend, “his failure to appear casts a new light on his assertions regarding the original case.” Well, duh! As an amateur and dilettante in the world of journalism and political highjinks, I am bewildered that the Wall Street Journal’s quote of Mr. Rendell’s statement came before Norman Hsu’s arrest. How does that stuff happen? Was it only last week that Rendell began keeping such a sharp eye on Mr. Hsu’s fortunes and misfortunes? Rendell’s latest statement is a transparent attempt at redemption. Just last week, Rendell said he’d planned to keep the $40K he’d got from Hsu even though Hsu pleaded “no contest” to charges he’d ripped off a million bucks from investors.

Apparently the California authorities had a change of heart after reading about Mr. Hsu’s activities in the WSJ and decided to pursue the 1991 matter. Mr. Hsu dutifully surrendered himself to California authorities, posted a two million dollar bail, and then skipped out again, failing to appear at his scheduled hearing.

When Hsu took his latest bounce, California law enforcement requested the help of the FBI which located and arrested him toute-de-suite. Hsu’s arrest has worried other Democratic big-wigs including prez candidate Chris Dodd who issued a statement about refusing to take campaign contributions “raised, solicited, or delivered by fugitive from justice.”

It should be clear from all this that the current administration’s greatest critics are making good on their pledges to clean up sordid Republican politics.

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