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Big Dem fundraiser wanted on swindling charges

August 28, 2007 |  7:25 pm

The Los Angeles Times reports on this website tonight and in Wednesday's print editions that a major Democratic Party fundraiser named Norman Hsu is wanted by authorities for skipping out on an agreement to serve up to three years in prison after pleading no contest to grand theft swindling charges.

In a story by Chuck Neubauer and Robin Fields, The Times reports that for three years Hsu has been carving out a place of political and financial influence by funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions into Democratic Party coffers, much of the money earmarked for Sen. Hillary Clinton. He has earned the ranking of Hillraiser for pledging to raise at least $100,000 for her.

In just the last 36 months Hsu has been involved in raising more than $1 million for Clinton and other Democrats. Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, confirmed today that Hsu had been a "longtime and generous supporter" of the party including Clinton. "We have no reason to call his contributions into question or to return them," Wolfson added.

Hsu has developed a specialty of bundling hefty campaign contributions from obscure citizens who live modest lives and have never before given money to campaigns. Many are not even registered to vote.

Over the years other recipients of Hsu donations have included Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Edward Kennedy.

Hsu's lawyer confirmed today that his client was the one involved in the California case but said he did not remember pleading to a criminal case nor facing jail time.

"He is a fugitive," said Ronald Smetana of the California attorney general's office. "Do you know where he is?"

--Andrew Malcolm

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