Here’s a peculiar thing about the holier-than-thou Campaign Finance Reform crowd. Whenever the stench of dirty money starts wafting from Democratic Party coffers, the clean election lobbyists are nowhere to be found. They’ll raise hell and hackles over American corporate donors. But when it’s shady foreign operators infusing cash into our electoral system, you’ll only hear one sound: the deafening swell of crickets chirping.
Hillary and Bill Clinton have declared themselves “shocked” at revelations about one of the Democratic Party’s mysterious, deep-pocketed bagmen, Hong Kong native Norman Hsu. This prodigious Democrat donor, was arrested last week after having evaded the law for 15 years over grand theft swindling charges. Hsu pleaded no contest and was supposed to serve jail time. Instead, he managed to remain a fugitive while raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democratic candidates and officeholders — and posing openly for photographs with the likes of Hillary Clinton.
According to investigative blogger Flip Pidot (suitablyflip.com), who delved into public records and crunched the numbers, Mrs. Clinton took the lion’s share of political cash ($174,000) from Hsu and his network of suspected donor-bundlers whose campaign checks dwarfed their income. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (former attorney general) accepted the largest sums of direct cash from Hsu.
Reports Mr. Pidot: “Among state parties, campaign committees and advocacy groups, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee topped the list, with $122,000, though three state Democratic parties or committees (Tennessee, New York and New Jersey) took more from Hsu directly. Of the 32 organizations that took money from Hsu and his associates, 10 were state Democratic parties and several others were Democratic campaign committees. The 84 individuals who received money from Hsu and his associates included 17 gubernatorial candidates, 17 congressional candidates, 27 senatorial candidates, and a variety of statewide and local candidates. All were Democrats, with the exception of Tom Gallagher, Florida’s former CFO[chief financial officer] and an unsuccessful primary challenger to Charlie Crist in the 2006 governor race. Including candidate-specific PACs, these individuals have taken just over $1 million from Hsu’s group since the 2004 cycle…. Another 22 organizations received support from Hsu’s network since 2004, primarily Democratic campaign committees and state Democratic parties.”
Former President Clinton, who left the White House deep in campaign finance scandals, retreated to Southern folksiness when asked about the Hsu scandal over the weekend. “You could have knocked me over with a straw, especially when I heard the L.A. people had been allegedly looking for him for 15 years when he was in plain view,” he told Newsday. With a straw? How about a cluebat?
Funny money? In the party of Clean Campaigns? No. The truth smarts like a snapped thong. Thwack. The straw donor scheme has clear shades of the Clintons’ Chinagate scheme: Dubious givers. Con artist rainmakers. And disingenuous pleas of ignorance and shock.
While the campaign finance reform crowd ducks under the table, there is one vociferous group making noise. Like clockwork, Asian-American groups were first out of the gate protesting public scrutiny of the foreign donors and whining about profiling. Deja vu all over again. “It would be wholly inappropriate to link this in any way to the ‘96 campaign cycle investigations, just because both involve Asian-Americans,” Lawrence Barcella, a lawyer for Hsu, who is a top donor to Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, told Politico.com
No. It’s because both involve the craven Clintons, a trademark incuriosity about the backgrounds of big donors and a network of generous contributors of notably meager means.
Executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York, Margaret Fung, a prominent voice who decried every last newspaper story about convicted campaign finance felon John Huang during the 1990s, recycled her old talking points again: “It links Norman Hsu and the Paw family to other Asian-American donors in previous campaigns, solely because of their race. It insinuates that Asian-Americans are more prone to making improper donations and have been doing this for years. What is this obsession with Asian-American donors?”
What is this knee-jerk obsession with crying racism and wallowing in collective ethnic grievances? It’s not just about “Asian-American” donors. It’s about felon and fugitive donors of a rainbow of races and backgrounds. It’s about the Clintons’ — and the Democrats’ — systemic corner-cutting, campaign corruption and double standards. There is a Chinese saying: “When you drink water, always think about the source.”
Peering into the poisoned well isn’t “racism.” It’s the duty of a responsible republic.
Michelle Malkin is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of “Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild.”