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Ties to Hsu Severed, Some Funds May Remain

Among the more revealing tidbits buried within the the campaign finance reports of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is a list that offers the fullest look to date into the political and financial world of Norman Hsu.

Clinton's report includes the names of 249 people whose contributions were credited in whole or in part to the fundraising efforts of Hsu, a "Hill-Raiser" who was believed to have brought more than $800,000 in donations into the Clinton campaign treasury.

Clinton severed her ties to Hsu after revelations that he was wanted on a 15-year-old warrant stemming from a fraud case. His case gained more notoriety as allegations surfaced that, while he was raising money for Clinton, he was engaged in an elaborate Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of more than $60 million.

Many of the Clinton donors whose contributions were refunded last month were alleged to have been strong-armed by Hsu, or reimbursed by Hsu for the checks they wrote, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Justice Department. A federal fraud case that the U.S. attorney for New York's Southern District unsealed against Hsu says that he "pressured victims" into making the contributions "in an effort to raise his public profile and thereby convince more victims to invest in his fraudulent investment scheme."

A closer look at the political activity of those Hsu donors suggests their contributions to Clinton's presidential campaign did not mark their first donations to the senator from New York. Hsu's donors gave $256,945 to Clinton's senate campaign since 2005, and $40,000 to her political action committee, "Hill Pac" during that period.

Some of that money may have eventually found its way into Clinton's presidential accounts, because she transfered about $10 million from her senate fund into her presidential coffers.

Asked if the campaign was considering returning any of that additional money, campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson said the campaign was not. "We didn't keep track of the contributions in the same way so we do not know which contributions to credit to Mr. Hsu," Wolfson said.

--Matthew Mosk

By Post Editor  |  October 17, 2007; 1:35 PM ET
 
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