Dems' next target: Toomey's year in Hong Kong
For some time now, Democrats have been demanding to know what Pat Toomey, the GOP Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, did during his year spent in Hong Kong in 1991 working for a financial advisory firm. Dems have been seeking detail on Toomey's year abroad, in order to buttress their ongoing case that Toomey, who worked for banks and traded derivatives, is nothing but a stooge of Wall Street.
I've nailed down what Toomey did during that year: His campaign confirms to me that he did research on capital market formation in southeast Asia for a company owned by the billionaire Chan brothers, one of whom, Ronnie Chan, was a former Enron director who settled a massive $168 million lawsuit brought against the company by shareholders.
Dem Senate candidate Joe Sestak and others have accused Toomey of doing controversial currency swaps during that year in Hong Kong. The Toomey campaign adamantly denies the charge -- and there's no evidence for it.
More broadly, however, Dems are going to go on the offensive against Toomey over his work for Chan.
Chan, Dems argue, is a controversial character, and they're hoping to inject him into the Pennsylvania Senate race. In addition to his link to Enron, Chan has repeatedly scoffed at American hopes for a more democratized China. Even though Toomey did his work for Chan 20 years ago, Dems are going to accuse Toomey of helping build up a Chan-owned company and try to link it to today's fears of Chinese currency manipulation.
The Toomey campaign laughed off the Dems' intention to milk the Chan connection. "The Democrats must be getting pretty desperate to dig up what Pat did twenty years ago," Toomey campaign manager Mark Harris told me, adding that Toomey didn't do any trading, but merely did research on capital formation in southeast Asian countries for the Chan brothers.
"What voters in Pennsylvania are concerned about is Joe Sestak's liberal voting record in the last three years," Harris added.
UPDATE, 11:15 a.m.: The year was actually 1991. I've edited the above to correct.
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