|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign said yesterday that it would give to charity $23,000 it had received from a prominent Democratic donor, and review thousands of dollars more that he had raised, after learning that the authorities in California had a warrant for his arrest stemming from a 1991 fraud case.
The donor, Norman Hsu, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democratic candidates since 2003, and was slated to be co-host next month for a Clinton gala featuring the entertainer Quincy Jones.
The event would not have been unusual for Mr. Hsu, a businessman from Hong Kong who moves in circles of power and influence, serving on the board of a university in New York and helping to bankroll Democratic campaigns.
But what was not widely known was that Mr. Hsu, who is in the apparel business in New York, has been considered a fugitive since he failed to show up in a San Mateo County courtroom about 15 years ago to be sentenced for his role in a scheme to defraud investors, according to the California attorney general’s office.
Mr. Hsu had pleaded no contest to one count of grand theft and was facing up to three years in prison.
The travails of Mr. Hsu have proved an embarrassment for the Clinton campaign, which has strived to project an image of rectitude in its fund-raising and to dispel any lingering shadows of past episodes of tainted contributions.
Already, Mrs. Clinton’s opponents were busy trying to rekindle remembrances of the 1996 Democratic fund-raising scandals, in which Asian moneymen were accused of funneling suspect donations into Democratic coffers as President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were running for re-election.
Some Clinton donors said yesterday that they did not expect the Hsu matter to hurt Mrs. Clinton unless a pattern of problematic fund-raising or compromised donors emerged, which would raise questions about the campaign’s vetting of donors. Mr. Hsu’s legal problems were first reported yesterday by The Los Angeles Times; The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday about his bundling of questionable contributions.
“Everyone is trying to make the implications that it’s Chinese money, that it’s the Al Gore thing all over again, but I haven’t seen any proof of that,” said John A. Catsimatidis, a leading donor and fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton in New York.