Posted by Curt on 21 September, 2007 at 7:33 am. 2 comments already!


Suitably Flip has done a magnificent job of investigating the Norman Hsu scandal and has come up with some quite interesting ties between Hsu and Bill Clinton.  That’s right, not HIllary this time:

Two of the biggest open questions were always 1) where is Hsu – a convicted con man and fugitive with no documented ability to turn a legitimate buck – getting these gobs of money, and 2) why is he squandering it on all these Democrats?

These specific Democrats.

We seem to have gotten at least part of the answer to the first question, as Hsu has recently been accused of swindling investors out of as much as $70 million in a variety of Ponzi schemes and other bogus investments.  The second question though, has been naggingly impenetrable.  After all, if Hsu was simply buying his way into the inner circles of various celebrity politicians, whether for his own ego or to project more credibility and gravitas to his marks (or both), why would his fundraising have been so unwaveringly partisan – targeting only members of the minority party and only very specific members of that party.  Hsu’s network finance the campaigns of more than 80 Democrats – from Presidential candidates to state legislators and town supervisors.  From the newest newbies (including a majority of the first-time candidates who became Senate freshmen this year) to some of the body’s dustiest relics (Kennedy, Biden, et al).

Yet Chuck Schumer, for example, Hillary’s senior counterpart in New York, never saw a dime.  Fellow New York politicians Eliot Spitzer, Andrew Cuomo, Anthony Weiner, Kristen Gillibrand, and others received hundreds of separate contributions, totalling many hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Schumer: bubkes.

Debbie Stabenow (D-MI): $29,613…  Carl Levin (D-MI): squat.  Jay Rockefeller (D-WV): $23,000…  Robert Byrd (D-WV): zilch.

You get the idea.  The points is that Hsu’s specific slate of favored candidates (itemized here) seemed to be deliberate and predetermined and was not satisfyingly explained away by any of his speculated motivations. 

He then discovered one contribution from Hsu himself to Christine Quinn, the intermediary being a company called Lillian Vernon.  The CEO of that company is Fred Hochberg who Flip discovered gave almost exactly the same amount, and gave on exactly the same date, to the same person as Hsu did on most of his contributions.  So many of these contributions are similar that it defies coincidence.

The big news?

Fred was a dean at the New School, where Hsu was a trustee until he was removed once the scandal broke, AND:

Hochberg was tapped to become the SBA’s deputy adminstrator in 1998 and some time thereafter became the acting administrator.  The SBA administrator is not a current Cabinet-level position.  Clinton elevated the position to Cabinet rank, a move Bush has undone.  Not long before his executive appointment, Hochberg had enjoyed another kind of Presidential access, as a member of Clinton’s bescandaled "White House Coffee" guest list.

It’s looking a little bit like Hsu was just the lackey in this whole thing.  A man with a gift for a gab for sure but who seemed to be giving the same amount, to the same person, on the same date as a former Bill Clinton Cabinet member.  In fact this Cabinet position was elevated to Cabinet level for this man specifically it seems.  Which can only mean he has some juice with Billy.

Nothing concrete yet but Flip is working quite hard on this scandal.  Google spreadsheets and everything.  Please go check them out at his site, and then take a look at his comparison of the Abramoff scandal against Hsu:

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