A top Democratic fundraiser whose criminal past has roiled the campaigns of top presidential candidates failed to appear Wednesday for a bail hearing and a judge issued a new warrant for his arrest.No one knows where Hsu is. Has he skipped the country again? Did no one bother to notice that he was a flight risk or that someone should have held on to his passport to prevent him from leaving the country?
Norman Hsu, who had been a fugitive for more than 15 years, forfeits the $2 million bail he posted last week. His attorney said Wednesday he didn't know where his client was.
Hsu pleaded no contest in 1991 to a felony count of grand theft, admitting he'd defrauded investors of $1 million in a bogus investment scam. He was facing up to three years in prison when he skipped town before his 1992 sentencing date, Deputy Attorney General Ronald Smetana said last week.
During a hearing last Friday, Judge H. James Ellis ordered Hsu handcuffed and jailed until he could post $2 million bail, which he did after spending about five hours behind bars. The judge declined Hsu's request to immediately reduce the bail by half, instead scheduling Wednesday's hearing to consider the request.
The surprise development is the latest twist in the case of the California businessman who remade himself into a New York apparel executive and benefactor of Democratic causes and candidates. They included presidential contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose campaign designated Hsu a "HillRaiser" — a title given to top donors.
Federal Election Commission records show Hsu donated $260,000 to Democratic Party groups and federal candidates since 2004. Though a top fundraiser for Clinton, he also donated to Obama's Senate campaign in 2004 and to Obama's political action committee.
While law enforcement should be red-faced over this, the politicians who received money directly from Hsu or from people who funneled money through Hsu ought to be reconsidering what they do with his money. Some, like Obama aren't giving the money back.
That's a decision that he should be forced to regret - along with all the other politicians who took his money. Some politicians are trying to have it both ways - opting to donate some, but not all, of the money to charity. Sorry, but charity doesn't fix this mess.
These politicians took money from a shady character who had no clear way he could ever afford to provide such funds in the first place, and no one knows the ultimate origin of the money. Apparently, the only checks done on the money was to make sure that the checks cleared in the candidates' campaign bank accounts.
Dan Riehl, Hot Air, and Wizbang are also covering the story [ed: added missing text].
Jammie, Don Surber, Michelle Malkin, and Suitably Flip are keeping tabs on Hsu's whereabouts.
The theme developing by those blogging thus far on Hsu skipping his bail hearing is what was the judge thinking in providing a known flight risk bail in the first place. He'd already jumped bail once, and today's hearing was supposed to be where Hsu would turn in his passport and request a bail reduction. He didn't show, which means Hsu forfeits the $2 million. Still, where did all that money come from?
Others weighing in: Liberty Pundit, Captain Ed, Stop the ACLU, Stuck on Stupid, and Fausta.
Bryan at Hot Air points to this article by Philip Klein about how Hsu's shell companies simply don't check out. Bogus addresses and information that doesn't quite check out.
How exactly did all those campaigns vet where Hsu got his money from? Did they do any background checks on Hsu at all before accepting his money?
Rep. Patrick Kennedy is refusing to give the money back or donate it to charity. That's not surprising. I suspect quite a few Democrats and the various party organizations aren't going to give money back.
That includes the DSCC, which is headed by Sen. Chuck Schumer, who opened mouth and inserted foot on the Senate floor today in denigrating the work of the US Armed Forces in Anbar Province in Iraq. I doubt the DSCC will return and/or donate the money.
Has Kennedy and some other Democrats had a change of heart? It looks that way:
After reports surfaced of his fugitive status, politicians at all levels scrambled to distance themselves. On Wednesday, Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who initially said he would keep the $6,200 from Hsu, announced that he would give the money to charity.Note that not all the politicians are returning the money, and not all of the money that was funneled into these politicians and groups via Hsu is being returned.
Kennedy had originally counted $6,600 in donations, but a review of federal campaign records showed it was actually $6,200.
Obama's campaign said it would give to charity the $2,000 Hsu contributed to his 2004 Senate campaign and the $5,000 Hsu gave to his political action committee, Hopefund.
Hsu's $43,700 in donations to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $2,500 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also will go to charity, both groups said.
Clinton joined the other candidates, returning $23,000 in contributions that Hsu made to her presidential and senatorial campaigns and to her political action committee, HillPac. But his close association with her campaign put Clinton on the defensive.
Flip has gone by Hsu's very public address as per campaign filings. He's doing the work that law enforcement should have done if they wanted to bring Hsu to justice on the grand theft charges he was convicted of more than a decade ago.
Flip also thinks we're never going to hear from Hsu again. I'm not so sure. He'll turn up again at some point.
If he has indeed left the country, you would think there'd be some sign that such an event was noticed by someone at ICE, an airport, or border crossing. Someone should have noticed.