Hillary refunds only 41% of tainted donations bundled by Hsu — or does she?

posted at 9:11 am on October 16, 2007 by Allahpundit

Some of you asked for more of the sweet, sweet Hsugar in the Imus thread so I’m pouring it on you, in the name of love. It’s well nigh miraculous that the campaign refunded any of the spoiled dough: remember, it was days after the scandal first broke before they promised to do so and even then they declared their intent to ask the bundled donors to re-donate the refunds. The third quarter numbers are finally out now, and after some cursory number-crunching Flip says something’s still amiss:

Consider this a rough cut through the data, subject to revision, but I’m showing more than $125,000 in thus far unrefunded contributions made by previously identified suspected Hsu straw donors (most of whom the Clinton campaign seems to acknowledge as Hsu-connected donors by virtue of the partial refunds they issued during the quarter)…

As currently illustrated, the Clinton campaign appears to have refunded just over 40% of the previously identified Hsu-connected donations…

It’s also important to remember that any of these Clinton donors who were reimbursed by Norman Hsu for such donations (allegedly with funds Hsu swindled out of unwitting investors) are not the legitimate owners of those funds.

Indeed. If any were reimbursed — and the complaint against Hsu alleges that at least one of his bundlees was — then the reimbursed donation properly belongs to Hsu, or at this point, to his creditors and victims.

So Hillary’s still holding on tight to at least $125,000+. Or is she? The LA Times ran the numbers too and they’re claiming that of the $850,000 in total tainted contributions, she gave back $804,850. Obviously, with less than $50K in yet-to-be-refunded donations by their estimate, either their numbers or Flip’s don’t add up. I e-mailed him last night to ask whether that $125K difference might be explained by some of the bundlees having re-donated the refunded money, but he says those would be shown as separate donations so he’d have noticed them. I’m thinking what may have happened is that Flip’s list of suspected Hsu bundlees includes people who aren’t in fact Hsu bundlees and therefore aren’t entitled to a refund. Indeed, the Times lists the total number as 249 and Flip describes it as “some 260 donors.” I’ll update when he does.

You wanted the Hsugar, you got it.


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This hsinola is getting old…

Hoodlumman on October 16, 2007 at 9:17 AM

Way To GO!

Keeping this story alive is important. Had the alternative media been around when Hillary/Bill were selling pardons for votes, Mz. Clinton wouldn’t have been able to purchase a Senate seat and all this would be moot.

The only way our politicians will be honest is if transparency is forced upon them. Continued accounting of the tainted Hsu money is a good start.

Some ideas for future probes (depending on who makes it to the finals in Political Idol):

Obama’s faith history. It keeps changing. I wouldn’t care if the man were a Wiccan or Druid so long as he were honest about it. Obama tends to lie when confronted about issues of his faith upbringing and his standard answer of “I’m a Christian dammit” isn’t good enough.

John Edwards investments. Mr. “Two Americas” is a phony populist who goes out of his way to avoid the America that can’t afford to build mansions with 1600sqft “play rooms.”

Mitt Romney’s views on all the social issues, not just abortion. Is he really a Reagan Republican or another one of those RINOs the Northeast provides in such abundance. America doesn’t need to be run by the likes of a Northeastern “Republican” in the model of Chaffee, Snowe, or Collins.

highhopes on October 16, 2007 at 9:23 AM

Between this and the Peter Paul scandal, is there any doubt that, at the least, something is amiss in the Clinton fundraising machine?

nailinmyeye on October 16, 2007 at 9:27 AM

Between this and the Peter Paul scandal, is there any doubt that, at the least, something is amiss in the Clinton fundraising machine?

There never has been but no one dare question the queen.

bj1126 on October 16, 2007 at 9:31 AM

Hillary could rob a bank at gunpoint, with Bill driving the getaway car, lead police on a car chase, have the whole thing caught on camera, and no one outside the internet would cover it.

reaganaut on October 16, 2007 at 9:34 AM

reaganaut on October 16, 2007 at 9:34 AM

agree’d

trailortrash on October 16, 2007 at 9:37 AM

Exposing Clinton hsunanigans never gets old. We’ve had our fun with it, and the jokes have all been heard now. But this is deadly serious business.

Criminality, sociopathy, radicalism, cold ambition, and megalomania is lurking behind a polished, but tissue thin mask, and running for the office of President of the United States of America.

The mask has to be torn away so the good people of this country can see the monster behind it.

RushBaby on October 16, 2007 at 9:38 AM

My guess is that none of the money has been refunded and none of it ever will be. There must be someone, some where who can legally make them prove where the money is. As far as some of the earlier reports about them giving some of the money to charity someone should demand to know which charity, if any, was the recipient. Somebody should check those phony charities that Bill Clinton set up to see if they got any of it. Somebody should also check to see if Bill Clinton is pulling down a huge salary from his phony charities.
These people are ruthless, lying and dishonest and will do anything to fatten their pocketbooks.
Next time, I will tell you what I REALLY think about these scumbags.

OBX Pete on October 16, 2007 at 9:39 AM

Erosnally,

I don’t think there’s anything more than smoke in this sad saga.

This sin’t Tree where there was some definte coverup and collaberation – and the fact that most of Hsu’s bundlees are redonating the money seems to me to be at best poor judgement and control.

I am not a Hillary supporter and I sincerely want her defeated at the polls not based upon rumors but people finally standing up to the Clintonian system and saying Heck no.

EricPWJohnson on October 16, 2007 at 9:46 AM

Refunding less than a million dollars isn’t going to make any difference to the Hillary campaign. She needs to be declared ineligible for the election by the FEC for violating campaign laws.

What, exactly, are the teeth in the campaign finance laws? Why should anyone ever follow them if all they have to do is issue an ‘oops, sorry that you caught me, give me a do-over?’

James on October 16, 2007 at 9:48 AM

She needs to be declared ineligible for the election by the FEC for violating campaign laws.

The trouble is, it’s the Constitution that sets the eligibility requirements. The FEC can’t trump Article II Section 1.

I agree with the frustration, however.

DrSteve on October 16, 2007 at 9:58 AM

I admit to not being up on the qualifications beyond being at least 35 years of age and a US citizen, but if committing one of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ is enough to remove a sitting president via impeachment, shouldn’t it be enough to prevent the election of one?

James on October 16, 2007 at 10:11 AM

IANAL, I hasten to note. But I think the answer to your question is “no.”

I think the practical limits on the electoral prospects of convicted felons are meant to suffice here. And lying to the FEC, were someone to do this and be convicted, is a felony, I think.

DrSteve on October 16, 2007 at 10:18 AM

I think that this is not going to be the issue that will undermine the Hillary campaign. Unless some extremely corrupt influence/connections can be unearthed, she’s simply the recipient of stinky cash…she can weather that storm with ease.

We’ll have to do much better than this.

Ochlan on October 16, 2007 at 11:01 AM

No , No , No ; this story is not getting old. Keep it fresh. If you don’t, Hillary wins. Get it?

oldelpasoan on October 16, 2007 at 11:14 AM

[sarc]
No , No , No ; this story is not getting old. Keep it fresh. If you don’t, Hillary wins. Get it?
[/sarc]

That’s better

Ochlan on October 16, 2007 at 11:16 AM

Hillary could rob a bank at gunpoint, with Bill driving the getaway car, lead police on a car chase, have the whole thing caught on camera, and no one outside the internet would cover it.

reaganaut on October 16, 2007 at 9:34 AM

Exactly! I’ve always said this. When Bill Clinton was in office, I used to argue that he could be caught on video robbing a liquor store, executing the victims, and laughing at the camera … and liberals would still vote for him while blowing it off as just another right-wing smear campaign.

Gregor on October 16, 2007 at 11:19 AM

Thanks for posting this, Allah! Since you posted, I asked for it, means I comment–thus giving you that sweet, sweet iPhone traffic you covet. *grins*

However, in all seriousness–this is insane. Does Hillary really think she’ll get away with this? Let’s assume (I know, assumptions are bad) that she didn’t refund a significant chunk of this money. Did she possibly think that no one would notice? After all, the “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” solely exists to besmirch the virtue of the Holy Hillary, et. al…. and all it would take is for the FEC to file a lawsuit against her and she takes a broadside right to the campaign.

The amount of money is just not worth the risk here. She kept what, around 125 grand according to Flip? Or even all of it, according to the more cynical view? That’s not that much money, especially when she’s raking it in hand over fist like she is.

She’s allegedly smart, right? Why not Hsu this story away from her as fast as possible? That’s what I don’t get.

Vanceone on October 16, 2007 at 11:26 AM

Hillary could rob a bank at gunpoint, with Bill driving the getaway car, lead police on a car chase, have the whole thing caught on camera, and no one outside the internet would cover it.

reaganaut on October 16, 2007 at 9:34 AM

With reservations I type, If the cigar don’t fit you must aquit.

BadgerHawk on October 16, 2007 at 11:30 AM

acquit

BadgerHawk on October 16, 2007 at 11:31 AM

Couple points: I can’t be sure my list has no false positives, but of the missing $125k, $110k of it is associated with Hsu donors who did receive partial contributions from Clinton in Q3 (including two of the Paws), just not enough to offset the entirety of their contributions. So no more than 12% could be due to false positives.

What may have happened is that Hillary refunded additional contributions through her Senate campaign committee (Friends of Hillary), rather than her Presidential committee (Hillary Clinton for President). Or possibly that any contributions the alleged Hsu straws made to her Senate campaign, she’s simply keeping. Senate disclosures are paper filings so we can’t see what happened in the 3rd quarter yet. It would surprise me to learn that she’d been keeping large amounts of money in the Senate committee, most of which she rolled over in the first quarter.

Still, after about 20 emails back and forth last night with the lead Journal reporter working this story, this was the best theory we could come up with.

flip on October 16, 2007 at 11:47 AM

Vanceone on October 16, 2007 at 11:26 AM

And Bill Clinton is supposed to be smart as well… as he waved his finger at me and said he “never had sex with that woman”…

and lied in court…

They’ve been able to get away with so much, for so long, that they no longer care.

Romeo13 on October 16, 2007 at 11:48 AM

flip on October 16, 2007 at 11:47 AM

THANK YOU for your continuing analysis and reporting.

RushBaby on October 16, 2007 at 11:50 AM

flip on October 16, 2007 at 11:47 AM

Interesting, but as Hillary’s two campaign commitees are seperate legal entitys, how can she do that?

If she is transfering money back and forth, doesn’t this blow away campaign finance limits? As someone can donate the max amount to each of her campaigns? But she can still use them in the Presidential bid?

Romeo13 on October 16, 2007 at 11:51 AM

One additional clarification: I’m not at odds with the LA Times numbers; I expect when I’ve incorporated the 200+ newly unearthed donors, it’ll also show $800k+ in 3Q Hsu-related refunds (out of $1.2 million in total quarterly refunds). The $125k discrepancy ($214k contributed vs. $88k refunded) only represents 27 donors.

If the $125k discrepancy holds, it would likely mean that the Clinton campaign’s $850k estimate was simply low by $125k to begin with, and that we should see $975k if everyone were fully refunded.

flip on October 16, 2007 at 11:56 AM

So one of Hsu’s bagmen hand me an envelope with $2,100 in it, maybe a $100 tip?, and then I donate $2,100 to Hillary in a Hsu bundle, HSU gets caught, Hillary refunds me “my” $2,100, which I go ahead and re-donate on my own.

What has changed?

reaganaut on October 16, 2007 at 12:11 PM

A couple of points here.

I have been working with Flip on this issue for a while. We were working without knowledge of each other and now are working to provide info. He does the math work and local looks at the Hsu offices and such and I spend my time building the social network diagram of how the money trail ties together to show the emerging pattern.

As to the report released last night, some facts emerge.

The number of refunds by all the other dem candidates combined is less than 20 or so total.

Only the Clinton filing there are 671 line items that are refunds. Some people have up to 3 separate line items.

There are over 400 people who are receiving refunds, well beyond the Hsu related 260 Hillary is claiming.

A lot of the refunds appear to be very bad compliance by the Clinton campaign. Many appear to be improper double billings of donations via credit card that exceed the total cash limits from an individual donor of 2300/2300 pri/general or 4600 total per person. There are some people getting refunds in excess of 6000.00

This is not the first time for Hillary. Her’s is the only campaign (unless I missed it) that has already had letters from the SEC informing them of excess donations detected by their review of the past quarterly submissions.

Also Hillary has since declaring had near 100 refunds in past quarters processed, partially to meet the requirements the FEC reported that were in error according to the law.

For other campaigns they were almost non existent.

CommentGuy on October 16, 2007 at 12:25 PM

Another interesting thing turning up is there are people who are getting refunds that don’t ever show up in the FEC database as having donated to Hillary, or even anyone at all for that matter.

This could be due to spelling errors of the names, but I have been crosscheck via zipcode and such and still can’t come up with any record of donation by some of the people getting refunds.

There are dozens getting refunds larger than the total the FEC shows they contributed to the campaign.

Now this is just from data so far on the Hillary Clinton for President Committee. There is still data to be reviewed for HillPac which is a separate entity and also the trail will have to be followed though other pacs that transferred funds to the Hillary committees.

CommentGuy on October 16, 2007 at 12:32 PM

This work is the tip of the iceberg. Once we get past the federal review, the list of known Hsu bundled donors will pretty much be settled out.

With that name list, we will cross check to other federal campaigns for donations by them that are also tainted. There are many representatives and senators who have taken money and only have returned the most public of the names.

Then there is the local level funding. Governors and state treasures and many other state officials and state parties have received funds from Hsu connected donors. It even gets down to local city council donations in some places.
For example there seems to be a lot of money hooking back to Gov Rendell in Penn.

Also there is money going to various things like the DSCC and various pacs such as the Searchlight fund and the Hope fund.

Money has also run into issue campaigns like voter referendums in california.

It really takes a lot of following the money.

CommentGuy on October 16, 2007 at 12:49 PM

It really takes a lot of following the money.

CommentGuy on October 16, 2007 at 12:49 PM

How about if Clinton produces some cancelled checks?

OBX Pete on October 16, 2007 at 1:20 PM

so I’m pouring it on you, in the name of love.

Sweet and thick as molasses, the story and you AP :)

flip, thank you for all your efforts.

Don’t ever count on the LAT to be unbiased, accurate, detailed, or to correct a story after their hype. It doesn’t work that way with them and examples abound. Just ask John & Ken at KFI 640 AM in LA.

Entelechy on October 16, 2007 at 2:22 PM