stumbling over one
another to distance
their old fundraiser.
The American Spark
New Arrest Warrant Issued For Democratic Donor
By Cliff Montgomery - Sept. 6th, 2007
Discredited Democratic money-man Norman Hsu again became a wanted man after failing to attend a
Wednesday court date in California, whereupon a judge issued a second warrant for Hsu's arrest.
Hsu's shady past has become an embarrassment for some top Democratic figures, who had accepted
donations from Hsu before his previous crimes became public knowledge. The politicians, who include
Democratic presidential front-runner Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) as well as Representative Michael Honda
(D-CA) and Representative Joe Sestak (D-PA), have for the most part declared that they are giving Hsu's
donations to charity.
Hsu was slated to beg the judge for a return of half the $2 million bail he handed over last week after turning
himself in for a felony theft prosecution he received 16 years ago. A previous warrant for Hsu's arrest was
issued by California authorities in 1992 after he failed to show for his first sentencing hearing back in the early
Such actions essentially forced San Mateo Superior Court Judge Robert Foiles to order a county forfeiture of
Hsu's bail, and to issue this second, more severe arrest warrant. If Hsu is again captured, he will go directly to
jail with no hope of bail.
Hsu is a native of Hong Kong, who also failed to hand over his passport at the Wednesday court proceeding.
Hsu's high-priced Silicon Valley defense attorney Jim Brosnahan told reporters that his client had not given his
passport to the defense team on Monday.
"Mr. Hsu is not here and we do not know where Mr. Hsu is," Brosnahan said outside the courtroom. He added
that the defense team had made "some contact" with Hsu only hours before his scheduled Wednesday court
appearance, but Brosnahan would not say who made the contact with his client, or how the contact was made.
Hsu had first been arrested for running a high-dollar scam based on his false claims of having landed a
lucrative import contract for latex gloves. Hsu's lies allowed him to collect around $1 million from would-be
In 1991, Hsu pled guilty to a felony count of grand theft, but did not appear in court for the 1992 sentencing. At
the time, he faced a prison stay of up to three years. His failure to appear at that first sentencing hearing
produced the 1992 warrant for his arrest.
California prosecutors assumed that Hsu had fled America then, possibly returning to his native Hong Kong.
Then Norman Hsu re-emerged a few years ago, employed in New York as an clothing executive--and serving
as a well-to-do fundraiser of the Democratic Party. Among his favorite Dems was Senator Hillary Clinton; in
fact, Sen. Clinton's presidential campaign had designated Hsu as a HillRaiser--a title the Clinton campaign
bestows upon the presidential hopeful's top donors.
Nor is she the only Democrat running for president who had come to know Hsu's friendship. Fellow presidential
candidate Barack Obama (D-IL) also took donations from Hsu for his Senate campaign in 2004, as well as for
Hopefund, his political action committee.
Hsu submitted to California authorities on Friday, and spent about five hours in jail until paying the $2 million
bail set by authorities in his 1992 arrest warrant. A judge on Friday refused to reduce the bail to $1 million.
California prosecutors had agreed that Hsu's bail be reduced, as the amount was slated to reimburse those
whom Hsu had conned out of $1 million in 1990-91.
"We did think that was enough," said Deputy Attorney General Ralph Sivilla to reporters outside the
courtroom. Sivilla added that he had misgivings about Hsu's failure to hand over his passport to California
Federal Election Commission documents reveal that Hsu has given $260,000 to Democratic Party causes
since 2004. These donations include dollar amounts in the hundreds of thousands to state and local
There is no apparent evidence of Democratic Party officials knowing of Norman Hsu's shady past. All the
same, numerous Democratic Party politicians stumbled over one another to distance themselves from their old
fundraiser after news reports broke of Hsu's fugitive status.
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), who at first declared plans to keep donations from Hsu totaling $6,200, instead
decided on Wednesday to give the funds to charity.
Sen. Obama's presidential campaign declared it would donate to charity the $2,000 which Hsu gave to the
senator's 2004 Senate campaign, as well as the $5,000 which Hsu had donated to Hopefund.
Sen. Clinton likewise will donate to charity the $23,000 in total funds she had taken from Hsu for her senatorial
and presidential campaigns, as well as for HillPac, Clinton's political action committee.
Over the past few years, Hsu has donated $43,700 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and
given $2,500 in donations to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. These funds also will be
given to charities, declared both groups.
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