AUGUST 28, 2007
Maintaining her tradition of shady fundraising practices, Hillary Clinton has received questionable donations from a wealthy New York businessman who has avoided contribution limits by funneling the money through associates and friends he later reimbursed.
The rich businessman, Norman Hsu, is actually an official â??HillRaiserâ? because he is one of a few hundred supporters who pledged to raise $100,000 or more for Clintonâ??s presidential campaign. It turns out that he has recruited friends and associates to donate thousands of dollars that they later got reimbursed for.
The illegal practice allows top donors to skirt a 2002 law that sets campaign contribution limits. For the 2008 election, individuals can give a maximum of $4,600 per candidate and a total of $108,200 per election to all federal candidates and political parties. This severely limits wealthy and influential supporters such as Hsu, a successful apparel industry businessman who has raised thousands for Clinton over the years.
Hsu and his friends have given Clinton $133,000 since 2005. On four separate dates this year Hsu, five of his associates and a blue-collar California family of modest means donated $47,500 to Clintonâ??s presidential campaign. The northern California familyâ??s hefty donation is especially suspicious since it lives in a working-class suburb and is headed by a 64-year-old postal worker who earns less than $50,000 a year.
In fact, a former Federal Election Commission (FEC) official says the agency should investigate the Hsu-connected donations for violations of campaign finance laws, which specifically forbid one person from reimbursing another to make contributions.
Clinton has already been fined for violating federal election rules during her senate campaign. In response to a Judicial Watch complaint, the FEC fined the New York Senator $35,000 last year for concealing more than $700,000 in contributions during a 2000 senate fundraiser. The agency clearly needs to keep a close eye on the former First Lady.
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