SEPTEMBER 30, 2009
The convicted Chinese swindler that helped finance Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential bid and donated hefty sums to other top Democrats has been sentenced to 24 years in prison for defrauding investors out of tens of millions of dollars and violating federal campaign finance laws.
Norman Hsu, a one-time multi-millionaire who raised huge sums for the party’s most prominent politicians, actually got off easy because federal sentencing guidelines called for 30 years to life. Undoubtedly, Hsu still has friends in high places that perhaps intervened behind the scenes.
After all, he raised nearly $1 million for Hillary Clinton and thousands more for party leaders like New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and veteran California Senator Dianne Feinstein. Clinton was so tight with Hsu that a voicemail recording of the former New York Senator praising her cherished donor was presented as evidence in his federal trial earlier this year.
In it the Secretary of State repeatedly thanks Hsu for his support and tells the one-time fugitive she’s never seen anybody who has been more loyal and more effective. A jury eventually convicted Hsu, who had already pleaded guilty to swindling investors out of tens of millions of dollars, of campaign finance violations. Among other things, Hsu made political donations in other people’s names to skirt federal limits.
Democrats took his money even though many, especially Clinton, had been repeatedly warned that Hsu ran an illegal enterprise. In fact, Clinton crowned Hsu a “HillRaiser” because he quickly pledged to raise at least $100,000 for her presidential campaign. He ended up raising more than $800,000, which Clinton reluctantly returned under intense pressure after his arrest.
Hsu’s sentencing marks the second scandal in days involving a top Democratic fundraiser. Last week Iranian Hassan Nemazee, who has donated huge sums to President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and—not surprisingly—Clinton, was charged with defrauding several banks out of hundreds of millions of dollars. Prosecutors say Nemazee forged documents listing fake accounts with collateral worth hundreds of millions of dollars to obtain loans that he regularly used to make political contributions.
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