Hsu Convicted But No Reckoning for Hillary

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Norman Hsu photoDemocratic fundraiser Norman Hsu was convicted yesterday of making illegal campaign contributions. Earlier this month, Hsu pled guilty to operating a Ponzi scheme in which investors were swindled out of $20 million. Hsu’s favorite politician was Hillary Rodham Clinton, for whom he raised $850,000.

Hillary is Secretary of State. That would seem to invite at least some media attention, if not a full-blown firestorm, but nary a word is heard about Hillary’s ethical suitability for the post.

At the Hsu trial, the jury was played a phone message left by Hillary for Hsu that went like this:

What am I going to do with you, Norman? You are working so hard for me.

I just don’t even know what to say anymore. I’ve never seen anybody who has been more loyal and more effective and really just having greater success supporting someone like you.

Hillary says that she did not know that Hsu was a con man or that he was laundering money into her coffers. But even that very weak line of defense doesn’t wash given her previous involvement with scandals involving Asian businessmen and aggressive fundraising.

For the record, we list below some of Hillary’s previous acquaintances, compiled by Dr. Carl Horowitz of the NLPC staff, for an article titled “China’s Bamboo Network” published by Frontpage.com in 2007.

Charlie Trie.  A naturalized U.S. citizen from Taiwan, Trie owned a restaurant in Little Rock, Ark., one of the Clintons' favorite hangouts during Mr. Clinton's days as governor.  But this was no ordinary restaurateur.  Trie also owned a Little Rock firm, Daihatsu International Trading, with offices in Washington and Beijing.  He also was a bagman for Ng Lapseng, a fellow member of the Four Seas Triad, a Taiwanese crime syndicate allied with Chinese military and intelligence.  Trie received anywhere from $1.1 million to $1.5 million in cash from Lapseng, who ran a brothel in Macau, using much of the money for contributions to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the President's Legal Defense Trust.  Trie enjoyed easy access to the White House, visiting anywhere from 23 to 37 times, typically for fundraising "coffees."

John Huang.  Huang had been a principal fundraiser for Bill Clinton's post-election inaugural committee, greasing the wheels for his July 1994 appointment as the Commerce Department's deputy assistant secretary for international economic policy.  Hillary's personal intervention was instrumental in Huang getting the job; his future supervisor later would testify he was "totally unqualified."  Huang, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Taiwan, previously headed a Los Angeles-based subsidiary of the Indonesian financial conglomerate, the Lippo Group, whose founder, ethnic Chinese billionaire Mochtar Riady, was a generous contributor to the DNC.  During his year and a half at Commerce, Huang, having gained top-secret security clearance, regularly used the Washington office of Little Rock investment firm Stephens, Inc., right across the street, as a safe house, often leaving with classified files.  After leaving the department in December 1995, his security clearance intact for a year after that, Huang became DNC vice chairman of finance, raising millions from Chinese-connected commercial and arms-trading fronts.

James Riady.  The son of Mochtar Riady, James donated about $475,000 to the DNC and various Democrat candidates during the 1992 campaign.  He'd sat on the board of failed Worthen Bank in Little Rock, which had been bailed out by Lippo and Stephens in 1984.  The younger Riady sat on the Worthen board before being cited by the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency for making "excessive loans at preferential terms."

Horowitz also cited the possibility of a far more damaging result of the Clinton fundraising scandals than the shredding of campaign finance law, namely China’s subsequent success in shooting down a satellite with a surface-to-air ballistic missile. He wrote:

After Bill Clinton's re-election, a U.S. Senate committee, led by Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., was piqued enough to conduct several months of hearings during 1997.  The committee's final report, released March 5, 1998, read in part:  "The volume of Huang's contacts with Lippo and the Chinese embassy...is cause for concern.  The Committee has found no direct evidence that Huang passed classified information, but he had the opportunity to do so and his activities have not otherwise been adequately explained."

The Justice Department investigated the matter, eventually indicting 26 persons and two corporations, all of whom (save for the few who couldn't be found) pled guilty.  That included Trie, Huang and Riady.  The Democrats had to return more than $2.8 million in illegal or improper campaign contributions, around 80 percent of which had been raised or contributed by Trie and Huang.

And that doesn't even cover the strange case of Loral Space and Communications Chairman Bernard Schwartz, who contributed nearly $600,000 to the Democrats during the 1995-96 election cycle.  His generosity won him an antitrust exemption in March 1996 from President Clinton, allowing Loral to transfer authority for satellite export licenses to the Commerce Department, where Johnny Huang still had his security clearance.  Could the sophistication of today's Chinese ballistic missiles be connected to the Clinton’s pursuit of campaign money?  It looks that way.

photo credit: AP/Wide World