Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Clinton Refunding $850,000 Raised by Hsu

There is a big difference between $23,000 and $850,000, and this is something of a setback for the Clinton camp.
Clinton, D-N.Y., previously had planned only to give to charity $23,000 she received from Hsu for her presidential and senatorial campaigns and to her political action committee, HillPac.

The FBI is investigating whether Hsu paid so-called straw donors to send campaign contributions to Clinton and other candidates, a law enforcement official said Monday.

"In light of recent events and allegations that Mr. Norman Hsu engaged in an illegal investment scheme, we have decided out of an abundance of caution to return the money he raised for our campaign," Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said in a statement Monday night. "An estimated 260 donors this week will receive refunds totaling approximately $850,000 from the campaign."

Wolfson said the Clinton campaign also will vigorously review its fundraisers, including thorough criminal background checks, in the future. "In any instances where a source of a bundler's income is in question, the campaign will take affirmative steps to verify its origin," he said.
Clinton has raised some $52 million through the end of June (the next round of reports is due by October 15), so the sum, while not trivial, can be absorbed.

The problem is that Clinton's opposition amoung Democrats and certainly amoung Republicans is going to be tearing apart her campaign finance reports and investigating her donors. All of this is perfectly legal of course, if expensive. But given the pattern of fundraising....gray areas, shall we say, if anyone else like Hsu comes forward in the next couple of months, the so-called juggernaut of Hillary Clinton may have met its match--namely itself.

The sad part of all this is that the campaign finance "reformers" are going to be jumping on this incident to push for more bundling reform and even stricter controls over contributions.

No comments: