Dems Lowballing Hsu Fundraising Totals [Update: Hsu Offsets?]
Hillary's announcement that she would return $850,000 in campaign contributions that may be connected to Norman Hsu shocked me, given that the sum total of my Hsu hunting efforts to date have uncovered barely more than 1/4 that amount. And while her Hsu windfall easily outpaced her dozens of Democratic colleagues who also took money from the con man's fundraising network, I had to wonder whether they too would ultimately reveal cash hoards that similarly dwarfed their respective known Hsu-connected funds.
In the wake of Hillary's disclosure, some of Hsu's other beneficiaries have already followed suit, pledging to return not just Hsu's direct contributions, but those ostensibly made by members of Hsu's shady fundraising network.
There's only one problem. So far, these follow-on pledges haven't been exceeding the known totals - on the contrary, they've come in a little light.
Today's L.A. Times reports that Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) have pledged to return $34,900 and $20,000, respectively. It's not entirely clear to me from the phrasing whether those amounts are supposed to correlate to the amounts received just from Hsu's bundlees or from Hsu and his bundlees combined. In Gillibrand's case, if she's pegging just the non-Hsu money at $20,000, she appears to be right on the money. If she's including Norman's own donations, she's lowballing by at least 15%.
In Teddy's case, no matter which way you slice it, he's being modest. Kennedy's acknowledgment is at least 23% shy (and perhaps much more, if - as in Hillary's case - we're only looking at a small fraction of the actual tainted receipts), assuming he's claiming the $34,900 includes Hsu's own direct contributions.
Also noted in the Times piece, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has acknowledged $43,700 in contributions directly from Hsu (which is exactly what I came up with - gold star, DSCC!) and is apparently in the process of "looking into other donations to be sure they were made legally." Allow me to give them a head start. They're looking at at least triple that amount when they lump Hsu's associates into the mix.
[Note: the data above reflect ongoing campaign finance disclosure searches, pattern analysis, and other research of public documents and constitute a best-effort attempt to determine those individuals whose contributions appear questionable and likely linked to Norman Hsu's fundraising efforts current under federal investigation.]
Update: From the comments, Larry notes quite correctly that Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has just pledged to return $57,100 in Hsu-connected contributions, in addition to the $4,600 of Hsu-direct funds he said he already returned, for a grand total of $61,700. My most recent data for Harkin (which include $9,200 from two contributors I hadn't yet found as of last week's soup-to-nuts data upload) pegs his grand total at $59,800. That was enough to earn him the #4 spot in the Hsu rankings, behind Hillary, NY Governor Eliot Spitzer and NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, but it appears I missed $1,900 somewhere.
Either Harkin has got at least one additional Hsu-connected contributor I'm not aware of (very possible, considering Hillary's apparently got over 200 that no one's yet aware of) or he's over-degifting. The obvious question here is whether Harkin might be willing to sell these extraneous refunds to, say, Ted Kennedy, enabling him to offset a portion of his own refund shortfall.
If so, we may be witnessing the birth of a marketplace that enables even the slipperiest, most shadily financed politicians to live truly "corruption-neutral" lifestyles.
Harkin spokesman Matt Paul indicated the Senator received contributions from 13 Hsu associates, which would tend to support the missing contributor theory. If that's the case, I'd hope that Senator Harkin will shortly release that name, so we can help his dozens of Democratic colleagues more accurately tabulate their own refund shortfalls and surpluses.
On the other hand, Paul referred to the Hsu-connected donors' contributions coming in "during an event that Hsu was involved in arranging for Harkin's re-election campaign." If the $57,100 coming from the 13 Hsu associates did all come in during a single event (presumably on March 12th of this year), then Harkin's office may be forgetting to count those last 10 transactions, in which case the Senator would have as many as 6 mystery donors and up to a $23,000 shortfall in pledged refunds.
Sen. Harkin, Mr. Paul, if you're reading, please let us know which is the case so we can give you proper credit.
Hsu Sent Suicide Note [Update: Blaming Obama]
Federal Agencies Unofficially Probing Hsu Scandal Number [At Least] 4
Hsu's Financing Source Revealed
Hillary's Massive Hsu War Chest: Abramoff Parity Nears
Photoblog: Touring Norman Hsu's New York
Hsu Captured! (Drugged?)
Hsu Still A HillRaiser In Good Standing?
Knock, Knock, Knockin' On Norman's Door.
Hsu Reclaims Fugitive Status, Forfeiting $2 Million Bail
Hsu vs. Abramoff
New Hsu Review: Following [the Rest Of] the Money
A Really Big Hsu...
Hillary Vows To Give [At Least Some Of] Hsu Contributions To Charity
From Now On, When the Phone Rings You Say, "Vandelay Industries."
Handcrafted by Flip on September 13, 2007 |
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Suitably Flip, who's all over this story like Larry Craig on piece of toilet paper on the lavatory floor, find that Democrats and the DSCC are generously offering to return Hsu's direct donations, but somehow keep missing the donations from... [Read More]
Tracked on Sep 13, 2007 1:52:44 PM