Political Storm Brewing

Drudge has three links to the news about Norman Hsu apparently a big time donor to Democratic candidates, and Hillary Clinton in particular. Hsu has donated over $600,000 to various candidates, but what is interesting is that his income appears to be a complete mystery. Further, there is an outstanding bench warrant for his arrest in a fraud case, and that Hsu has now been taken into custody and held on $2 million bond.

Hsu appeared in court accompanied by a lawyer and publicist, both of whom declined to say whether the New York apparel executive would immediately post bail. A warrant was issued for his arrest after he skipped the sentencing for a 1991 grand theft charge.

Publicist? This is sure looking like it will be interesting to watch. Needless to say all the candidates that Hsu has donated to, either directly, or through what appears to be proxies, have been scrambling to hand the money over to charities.

The Clinton campaign has said it will give to charity $23,000 that Mr. Hsu contributed, and yesterday representatives of Mr. Spitzer and Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, who received $50,000 from Mr. Hsu, said they would do the same. A spokesman for Senator Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat who is a rival of Mrs. Clinton for the party’s presidential nomination, said Mr. Obama intended to give away $7,000 that Mr. Hsu contributed to his committees.

Hsu appears to be a complete mystery both in where he lives and where his businesses are located.

People who met him said they knew only that he ran an apparel business. Efforts to learn more about his trade hit dead-ends yesterday. Visits to companies at addresses listed by Mr. Hsu on campaign finance records provided little information. There were no offices in buildings in New York’s garment district whose addresses were given for businesses with names like Components Ltd., Cool Planets, Next Components, Coopgors Ltd., NBT and Because Men’s clothing — all listed by Mr. Hsu in federal filings at different times.

Let me think here. Skips town to avoid going to jail. Heads back to Hong Kong. Turns up back in the U.S. with buckets of money for the Democrats and nobody is thinking that the Chinese government might be behind it?

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Politicians, US Politics, , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. Arcs says:

    A Clinton and the Chinese in an under-the-table campaign donation scheme? Wow, that would be a first.

  2. Dale says:

    Maybe there was something to all the bruhaha back in the 90’s.

    I wonder if the whole China products deal going on now is a result of efforts to give them most favored nation status back during the Clinton years?

    I suspect this goes a lot deeper than Mr. Hsu stealing money and giving it to political candidates he likes.

    Bill Gertz wrote a book back in 99 or 2000 called “The China Threat” that had a large section on China and the Clintons. I was supposed to read it for a dollege class on intelligence/counter-intelligence. I wish I would have paid a little more attention to the book now.

  3. davod says:

    How can they give this guy bail?

  4. Bithead says:

    Let me think here. Skips town to avoid going to jail. Heads back to Hong Kong. Turns up back in the U.S. with buckets of money for the Democrats and nobody is thinking that the Chinese government might be behind it?

    Don’t worry, Steve;

    Someone has been thinking it for some days, now.

  5. Bithead says:

    How can they give this guy bail?

    Why, in Yen, of course.
    Or, perhaps Pesos.

  6. mannning says:

    does anyone believe that the Dems have given back ALL of the donated money? Or just the sums that can be traced?

  7. Grewgills says:

    I wonder if the whole China products deal going on now is a result of efforts to give them most favored nation status back during the Clinton years?

    China was given most favored nation status back in 1980. Who was president then? Do you think the Chinese bribed Reagan to initiate this status?
    In 1999 China was given “permanent normal trade relations” to allow them entry into the WTO. Who controlled the House and Senate in 1999? Why no bile or recrimination for the Republican congress that passed this?

    does anyone believe that the Dems have given back ALL of the donated money? Or just the sums that can be traced?

    How do you propose they identify the sum to give back for money that cannot be traced to him? Maybe you think they should just give away all their money just in case.

  8. davod says:

    They should give back all the money traced to his operation, not just the money he gave directly. I saw a chart listing the differences so it shouldn’t be hard to do this.

  9. Dave Schuler says:

    History of China’s MFN status

    In accordance with this procedure, the President, on October 23, 1979, [ed. during the Carter Administration] transmitted to Congress the trade agreement with China, signed on July 7, 1979, its proclamation, and the executive order extending to China the Jackson-Vanik waiver (H.Doc. 96-209). The agreement was approved by Congress on January 24, 1980 (H.Con.Res. 204, 96th Congress) [ed. under the Carter Administration] and entered into force (together with the reciprocal grant of the MFN status which it contains in addition to all other provisions required by section 405(b) of the Trade Act of 1974) on February 1, 1980 [ed. under the Carter Administration].

    Although the agreement, concluded for a 3-year initial term, provides for automatic 3- year extensions, its continuation in force is also subject to Section 405(b)(1)(B) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 USC 2435(b)(1)(B)), which applies to any trade agreement with an NME. The provision requires the President to determine “that actual and foreseeable reductions in United States tariff and nontariff barriers … resulting from multilateral negotiations are satisfactorily reciprocated by the other party….” The agreement has been thus far renewed five times, most recently by Presidential Determination No. 96-33 of June 21, 1996 (61 F.R. 32631) through January 31, 1998.

    Discussing the merits of China’s MFN status is another subject altogether. My own view is that the initial granting of MFN status was appropriate when you consider the substantial reforms China had put into place in 1979. I think that renewal should have been contingent on more reforms than have actually taken place.

    Similarly, WTO membership should have been contingent on more reforms. China hasn’t even met the reforms that were required for its membership (particularly those having to do with banking).

  10. Grewgills says:

    China’s road to MFN, now PNTR, began under Nixon with a Democratic congress was formalized in 1980 and has continued ever since under Republican and Democratic control of the executive and legislative branches. To try and place credit or blame for our current economic relationship with one party is ridiculous, to place the blame on Clinton is mind bogglingly ridiculous.

    China’s continued NTR with the US and EU should be contingent on human rights reforms within China and ending its support of the genocide in Darfur, but I’m not holding my breath.

  11. Bithead says:

    Ironic, that so many that are complaining today about China’s most favored nation status, are the ones who are telling us that we are not “engaging in” Iran.

  12. Grewgills says:

    Ironic, that so many that are complaining today about China’s most favored nation status, are the ones who are telling us that we are not “engaging in” Iran.

    No irony there.
    Aside from the misuse of the term, I take it you mean that there is some inconsistency in questioning the legitimacy of China’s PNTR status and thinking that we should be talking to Iran. Perhaps you could explain the inconsistency?

  13. Steve Verdon says:

    Grewgils,

    I’m sorry, but I think you are mixing apples with oranges. The issue of granting various trade statuses with China is one issue, corruption is another.

  14. Bithead says:

    Well, there’s that, Steve, but to answer Grewgils’ question:

    If the argument is to be that we should shut off MFNTS because of repeated indication of Chinese government involvement with corruption of our elections, (And I suppose that to be why MFNTS was brought up) I think it would be well for us to remember that that trading status was offered up to China in the interests of engaging China to improve its human rights record. Further, we have been reluctant to remove that status for the same reason.

  15. Bithead says:

    Addendum:

    Obviously, we offered China MFN with the best of intentions, and we see now how the road to hell is paved.

    Do we really have indications it’s going to work any better with Iran?

  16. Grewgills says:

    Steve,
    The implication was made that China acquired PNTR due to corruption by Dems, specifically Clinton, when PNTR for China has been continuously supported by the vast majority of both parties in the executive and legislative branches for over 20 years. China may have tried to inject some money into American politics, but that has very little to do with its trade status.

    Bit,
    That in no way answers my question. Again, where is the inconsistency in questioning the wisdom of giving China PNTR and wanting our administration to talk with the Iranians?
    And, yes PNTR was given to China in the hopes of, among other things, improving human rights within China and providing us with cheap labor. It has had some degree of success in the former and tremendous success in the later. Perhaps we should have tried the same with Cuba.

  17. Steve Verdon says:

    Grewgills,

    Really, where did I imply that China’s trade status was the result of corruption by the Democrats? I don’t see it.

  18. Grewgills says:

    Steve,
    It was a few of the commenters, not you.

  19. Grewgills says:

    Bit,

    Which country has moved further toward being more open and freer society, China or Cuba?

    And as for the straw man, who has suggested offering Iran PNTR?