This came up in yesterday’s taste of Hsugar. Remember last month when she made a big show of refunding the donations bundled by Hsu lest there be any appearance of impropriety — before insisting that she’d ask the bundlees to re-donate the refunded money? As lame as that idea was, it did have the virtue of providing a rough gauge of how many of Hsu’s bundlees genuinely did want to donate to Hillary because they supported her versus those who only donated to her because Hsu, using his business leverage over them, insisted that they do so. Now that he’s in jail and his “businesses” have collapsed, those who chose to re-donate the refunded money could reasonably be assumed to be in the former category; those who didn’t, the latter.
When Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign last month mailed 250 checks to refund contributions to donors associated with jailed fund-raiser Norman Hsu, the campaign said it was open to having them contribute again directly. As of the end of September, only 10 had decided to do so, according to the campaign’s most recent campaign-finance filings…
Mr. Hsu “bundled” more than $800,000 in donations for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, from 248 individuals. Only $34,200 was again donated to the campaign after it was returned.
Not quite 5%, in other words. Meanwhile, having now learned the hard way that Hsu’s bundlees aren’t real “core” Hillary fans, the campaign faces a new dilemma: what to do about the hundreds of thousands of dollars given by those same people to her Senate campaign? Should the campaign presume, quite logically and ethically, that those donations were also the product of pressure by Hsu — knowing now that the money is unlikely to be re-donated if it’s refunded?
Of course not, silly. They’re holding on to it with both hands:
Hillary Rodham Clinton returned more than $800,000 in contributions donated to her presidential campaign that were arranged by alleged swindler Norman Hsu. But campaign officials said Tuesday they had no plans to return more than $260,000 that many of the same donors gave to her Senate political accounts.
Officials said they would return those contributions only if requested to do so by individual contributors.
A Los Angeles Times analysis found that 77 donors whose contributions to the presidential campaign were returned last month also gave to Clinton’s two Senate-related political funds.
Her Senate campaign committee, Friends of Hillary, received $235,000 in donations from the 77 donors later linked to Hsu. Ten of those contributors gave an additional $28,000 to Clinton’s leadership political fund, HillPac…
“Because we did not keep track of contributions in the same way during the Senate campaign we have no basis for knowing that these individuals were solicited by Norman Hsu,” said Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson. He said the Clinton campaign had gone beyond what it was legally or ethically bound to do when it gave back the presidential contributions.
Exit question: If they’re unsure whether the Senate donors were solicited by Hsu, why don’t they call them up and ask them?
Update: A good point by Flip. How many of those 77 Senate campaign donors being stiffed by Hillary were also defrauded by Hsu and looking to recoup some of their money?
In choosing to keep the $250,000 in Hsu-connected money that came in through the PAC and Senate committees, simply because the official bundler of such donations wasn’t recorded, the Clinton campaign seems to signal it’s forgetting (or dismissing) the fact that these funds aren’t tainted only because they were solicited by a career criminal and serial fugitive. The funds are tainted because that criminal is accused of reimbursing some of the nominal “contributors”. Further, the criminal complaints against Hsu allege that he financed his massive and fraudulent contributions with money he swindled out of more than a hundred investors. The FBI, the SEC, the FEC, and at least one U.S. Attorney’s office are investigating and the alleged victims are hoping to recover the $60 million they say Hsu stole from them.
For Clinton to be winkingly holding on to hundreds of thousands of dollars that can be quite readily linked to Hsu (as easily as referencing her own refund roster) shows an abundance of something, but it’s not caution.