WASHINGTON—Two campaign funds controlled by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will donate to charity $7,000 from a contributor with an outstanding California arrest warrant, Obama spokesmen said Thursday, a day after chief White House rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) campaign announced it will give to charity $23,000 from the same man.
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The fugitive donor, Norman Hsu, is a major Democratic fund-raiser and one of Clinton’s top-level bundlers. The 1992 arrest warrant was issued after he pled guilty in 1991 to a grand theft charge involving the sale of latex gloves. Bundlers are people who work their networks to raise money for a candidate.
In the case of Hsu, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that he solicited political contributions from the Paw family of Daly City, Calif., and that the modest Paw family home in the San Francisco suburb did not suggest the family, headed by a mail carrier, had the means to donate $213,000 to Democrats—including Clinton and Obama-- since 2004. It is illegal to get around federal contribution limits by funneling money through other people.
On Feb. 4, 2005, Hsu gave $5,000 to Obama’s HOPEFUND, a political action committee Obama formed after elected to the Senate in 2004. Hsu gave Obama’s Senate warchest $2,000 on Oct. 19, 2004.
The Hsu money will be given to Habitat for Humanity because, Obama presidential campaign spokesman Bill Burton said, “of the very serious questions that were raised in these news reports.”
The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday revealed that there has been a California arrest warrant out for Hsu, now in the New York apparel industry and that California authorities has presumed wrongly he fled. On Wednesday, Jen Psaki, another Obama presidential campaign spokesman, told Newsday Obama had no plans to return Hsu’s donations.
The Paw family also donated to HOPEFUND and those contributions are under review by Obama attorneys. Winkle Paw of Daly City gave $5,000 to Obama’s HOPEFUND on March 18, 2005 and $500 to the HOPEFUND on March 31, 2006. A Marina Paw, also of Daly City, donated $1,500 to the HOPEFUND on March 18, 2005.
Another Obama presidential campaign spokesman, Ben LaBolt, said the Paws will be sent two letters—one from each Obama warchest getting the money—asking them to certify that they used their own money to make the donations and did not get the money from anyone else. Filing a false statement is against the law.
The Paws also gave $45,000 to Clinton’s presidential campaign that she is not returning.
A string of California Democrats--Sen. Dianne Feinstein; Sen. Barbara Boxer; Rep. Mike Honda and Rep. Doris Matsui of Sacramento, also said they shed Hsu donations.