New Hsu Review: Following [the Rest Of] the Money
[Update: Hsu vs. Abramoff: Corrupt-o-Meter]
This is a follow-up to this post examining the extent of the political contributions made by Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu and several of his associates. The story first broke last Tuesday, when The Wall Street Journal noted suspicious patterns in Hsu's fundraising; the sums paid by Hsu's associates (some of whom listed Hsu's companies as their employers) seemed in some cases to drastically surpass the individuals' economic means. The size and timing of the contributions led to suspicions that Hsu may have been reimbursing these fundraising sources for their contributions, which would constitute an illegal circumvention of campaign finance laws.
The next day, it was revealed that New York-dwelling Hsu was a fugitive, on the run from a 3-year prison sentence in California, stemming from an investor swindling scam in the early 90s. While this has diverted some of the attention from Hsu's fundraising irregularities, it turns out there's quite a bit more under the campaign finance rock than previously realized.
The Journal originally collected contribution data largely from federal campaign disclosures. After re-constituting that FEC data, I collected state-level campaign data from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, which served as the basis for the previous post. That tally totaled roughly $1.37 million in contributions to dozens of candidates since the 2004 cycle, slightly less than half of which were made by Hsu directly.
I've since added data from municipal elections (most of which turned up in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco) as well as the most current data available in each state's respective campaign finance database. Additionally, the NYC Campaign Finance Board collects "intermediary" data, which frequently identifies the bundler associated with a given contribution. This revealed three new individuals in Hsu's network: Noah Yago, Youn Hadar, and Susan Chilman. While Yago's and Hadar's contributions appear to have been isolated incidents, a search for Chilman among the state and federal records turned up scores of additional donations. Totaling nearly $40,000 over three years, the size and timing of Chilman's contributions frequently fit the suspicious patterns that have already led the FEC and the DOJ to investigate Hsu's fundraising history. In the disclosure reports, Chilman lists herself as a self-employed actress. I've included Chilman's contributions in the aggregate data, but not Yago's or Hadar's.
The grand total currently sits at roughly $1.6 million. I've made the full data set available here, organized by recipient, by contributor, and chronologically. Any subsequent updates will be reflected in that spreadsheet. Below are summary findings from the combined data.
Hsu's Suspect Network
The contributors included in the data include Norman Hsu, two members of Hsu's family; the Paw family of Daly City, California; the Lee family of Queens and Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania; the Su family of Long Island; Susan Chilman of Burbank, California; and Stanley Lim and Peter Tan of Daly City.
Hillary Clinton took by far the most money from Hsu and his suspect donor network - $174,000 net of refunds. Clinton has agreed to turn over only Hsu's direct contributions (just 13% of the total) to charity. Tied for the biggest windfall from Hsu directly were New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and New York Governor (and former Attorney General) Eliot Spitzer, with $60,100 each.
Among state parties, campaign committees, and advocacy groups, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee topped the list, with $122,000, though three state Democratic parties or committees (Tennessee, New York, and New Jersey) took more from Hsu directly. Of the 32 organizations that took money from Hsu and his associates, 10 were state Democratic parties and several others were Democratic campaign committees.
Have any of these groups agreed to return this money yet?
The 83 individuals who received money from Hsu and his associates included 17 Gubernatorial candidates, 17 Congressional candidates, 27 Senatorial candidates, and a variety of statewide and local candidates. All were Democrats, with the exception of Tom Gallagher, Florida's former CFO and an unsuccessful primary challenger to Charlie Crist in the 2006 Governor race.
Including candidate-specific PACs, these individuals have taken just over $1 million from Hsu's group since the 2004 cycle.
In addition to the top 10 institutional recipients charted above, another 22 organizations received support from Hsu's network since 2004, primarily Democratic campaign committees and state Democratic parties.
The above tables and the supporting transaction-level data are available as a Google spreadsheet here.
Update: Michelle Malkin has a terrific op-ed today about the Democrats' funny money, the Clintons' uncanny ability to attract it, and the fallacy "crying racism and wallowing in collective ethnic grievances" in order to wave it away.
Update: Hsu is back on the lam, passport (presumably) in hand. Nice knowing you, Norm.
Update: There's some more fundraising data on tap - I should have it cleaned, gutted, and posted by tonight (Wednesday) or tomorrow (Thursday) at latest. Suffice to say that the Hsu-tainted fundraising totals will be rising for at least 20 of the Democrats already on the list.
Handcrafted by Flip on September 3, 2007 |
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