Norman Hsu

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Norman Hsu is a "wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry",[1] former president of the Chinese-American Association,[2] and a "major Democratic Party fundraiser".

Hsu has been described as a "Democratic megadonor and clothing company mogul"[3] and an "apparel magnate with a fat Rolodex".[4]

Fugitive in plain sight

Hsu is a fugitive, "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," the Los Angeles Times reported August 29, 2007.[5]

"For the last 15 years, California authorities have been trying to figure out what happened to a businessman named Norman Hsu, who pleaded no contest to grand theft, agreed to serve up to three years in prison and then seemed to vanish," the Times Chuck Neubauer and Robins Fields wrote.[6]

"On Tuesday, [August 28, 2007,] E. Lawrence Barcella Jr. -- a Washington lawyer who represents the Democratic fundraiser -- confirmed that Hsu was the same man who was involved in the California case. Barcella said his client did not remember pleading to a criminal charge and facing the prospect of jail time. Hsu remembers the episode as part of a settlement with creditors when he also went through bankruptcy," Neubauer and Fields wrote.


"Since 2004, one Norman Hsu has been carving out a prominent place of honor among Democratic fundraisers. He has funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions into party coffers, much of it earmarked for presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York," Neubauer and Fields wrote.[6]

"In addition to making his own contributions, Hsu has honed the practice of assembling packets of checks from contributors who bear little resemblance to the usual Democratic deep pockets: A self-described apparel executive with a variety of business interests, Hsu has focused on delivering hefty contributions from citizens who live modest lives and are neophytes in the world of campaign giving," Neubauer and Fields wrote.[6]

"As a Democratic rainmaker, Hsu -- who graduated from UC Berkeley and the Wharton School of Business -- is credited with donating nearly $500,000 to national and local party candidates and their political committees in the last three years. He earned a place in the Clinton campaign's 'HillRaiser'[7] group by pledging to raise more than $100,000 for her presidential bid. ... Records show that Hsu helped raise an additional $500,000 from other sources for Clinton and other Democrats," Neubauer and Fields wrote.[6]

"Records show that Hsu has emerged as one of the Democrats' most successful 'bundlers,'[8] rounding up groups of contributors and packaging their checks together before delivering the funds to campaign officials. Individuals can give a total of $4,600 to a single candidate during an election cycle, $2,300 for the primaries and $2,300 for the general election."[6]

According to campaign-finance records, Hsu "made his first campaign contribution, in the amount of $2,000, to the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry on July 21, 2004. Mr. Hsu has since donated $225,000 to Democratic candidates."[9]

Campaign contributions

Since 2004, other than Hillary Clinton, Norman Hsu has contributed to or raised funds for the following:[6][9]

Story pushed by Obama campaign

In September 2007, when newly exposed fugitive Norman Hsu went on the run, he mailed a letter in which he "contended that those articles [about his campaign bundling activities for Sen. Hillary Clinton] were planted 'by a politician who pledged 'hope and change', Dan Morain wrote in the Los Angeles Times,[29] "an apparent reference to Sen. Barack Obama, Clinton's main rival for the Democratic presidential nomination." At the time, Obama's campaign denied the allegation.

On November 8, 2007, Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times reported on a story by Marc Ambinder in The Atlantic in which Ambinder revealed that the Obama campaign had been behind the outing of Hsu:[30]

Barack Obama’s presidential campaign "scored a significant hit" against chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton "by helping to place" a story about tainted Democratic donor Norman Hsu ...
The story, titled Teacher and Apprentice by associate editor Marc Ambinder, describes how Obama campaign staffers were "frustrated" because the press was not covering Clinton "in the way they expected it would."
"…And at a campaign event in Iowa, one of Obama’s aides plopped down next to me and spoke even more bluntly. He wanted to know when reporters would begin to look into Bill Clinton’s postpresidential sex life," Ambinder writes. ...
Asked for comment on whether the campaign had a hand in "helping to place" the Hsu story, Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said 'We had no knowledge of Norman Hsu’s past criminal activity, fugitive status or potential straw donor scheme until reading it in the newspaper.' ...
Ambinder, told of the Obama campaign comment said, "I stand by my reporting and the article speaks for itself."



  • Norman Hsu Scholarship, which is "awarded to students with a strong academic record", at the Eugene Lang College at the New School. Hsu is on the board of directors.[31]
  • Benefit co-chair of "Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark" by Ariel Dorfman "staged at New York's Chelsea Piers on Friday, October 6, 2006."[32]
  • Committee co-chair for "Taking Back the United States Senate in 2006" held December 14, 2005, at the home of Rhea Perlman & Danny DeVito, Beverly Hills.[33]
  • Platinum contributor ($25,000-$50,000) to The M:Gray (Macy Gray) Music Academy.[34]
  • Supporter under "Contributors ($10,000 to $14,999)" for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.[35]
  • Major sponsor of The Wharton Club of New York's The Joseph Wharton Awards Dinner, September 28, 2006.[36]
  • Supporter of "Making of a Governor" held January 8-21, 2007, at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal, New York City, sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.[37]


"News stories in the mid-1980s said [Hsu] criticized trade policies that made it harder to import goods from China.[1]


Related SourceWatch articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 Brody Mullins, "Big Source of Clinton's Cash Is an Unlikely Address. Family's Donations Closely Track Those Of Top Fund-Raiser," Wall Street Journal Online, August 28, 2007. "In the campaign-finance forms, Mr. Hsu lists his companies as Next Components, Dilini Management, Because Men's Clothes and others."
  2. Letter from Steven R. Ross and Mark J. MacDougall; Affidavit: "Ted Sioeng, His Family, and His Business Interests," U.S. Senate. See page 32.
  3. Elizabeth Benjamin, "Congressional Cash," The Daily Politics Blog/New York Daily News, April 17, 2007.
  4. Lizzy Ratner, "The Bundling of the President, 2008," The New York Observer, March 18, 2007.
  5. Andrew Malcolm, "Big Dem fundraiser wanted on swindling charges," Top of the Ticket Blog/Los Angeles Times, August 29, 2007.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Chuck Neubauer and Robin Fields, "Democratic fundraiser is a fugitive in plain sight," Los Angeles Times, August 29, 2007.
  7. Hillraisers,
  8. Bundler: Norman Hsu,, accessed August 29, 2007.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ianthe Jeanne Dugan and Brody Mullins, "Leading Clinton Donor Stays Below the Radar," The Wall Street Journal Online, August 29, 2007.
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 10.13 10.14 10.15 Campaign Contributions: Norman Hsu, Dix Hills, NYC, Newsmeat, accessed August 29, 2007.
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 11.13 11.14 11.15 11.16 11.17 11.18 Campaign Contribution: Norman Hsu of New York, 2006-2007,, accessed August 29, 2007.
  12. Gillibrand attended a "fundraising reception hosted by Norman Hsu" on July 9, 2007. See Congresspedia.
  13. Jim Kuhnhenn, "Clinton to give away fundraiser's cash," AP News via Talking Points Memo, August 29, 2007.
  14. Photographs: Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Guest of Honor at luncheon given by Norman Hsu, June 27, 2005, taken by
  15. Brody Mullins and Ianthe Jeanne Dugan, "Democrats Race To Return Cash From Big Donor," Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2007.
  16. Jim Kuhnhenn, "Clinton to give away fundraiser's cash," AP News via Talking Points Memo, August 29, 2007.
  17. Photographs: Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Guest of honor at breakfast given by Norman Hsu, May 4, 2005, taken by CamerARTS.
  18. Campaign Finance Report, Schedule I - Part D, All Other Contributions Over $250.00: Edward Rendell for Governor, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  19. Ben Smith, "Richardson Happy at Number Two," The Politico, February 3, 2007.
  20. NYS Board of Elections Financal Disclosure Report: Spitzer Paterson 2006, August 29, 2007.
  21. Des Moines Register, [1] Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board records
  22. "Cuomo for Attorney General Reports Collecting Over $2 Million for Second Filing In a Row,", January 15, 2006.
  23. Jim Kuhnhenn, "Clinton to give away fundraiser's cash," AP News via Talking Points Memo, August 29, 2007.
  24. Campaign Finance Report, Schedule I - Part D, All Other Contributions Over $250.00, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 2006.
  25. NYS Board of Elections Financial Disclosure Report, August 29, 2007.
  26. Elizabeth Benjamin, "A Tale Of Two Parties," TimesUnion/Capitol Confidential Blog, January 29, 2007.
  27. Preschool for All,, 2006.
  28. "Pro-Issue 2," Individiual Contributions,, 2006.
  29. Dan Morain, "Hsu letter appeared to be suicide note," Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2007.
  30. Lynn Sweet, "Ambinder: Obama campaign 'helping to place' Hsu story," Chicago Sun-Times, November 8, 2007.
  31. "Special Scholarships and Grants," Eugene Lang College.
  32. Benefit: "Speak Truth to Power",, 2006.
  33. "Taking Back the United States Senate in 2006,", 2006.
  34. Circle of Patrons, The M:Gray Music Academy.
  35. Supporters, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
  36. "The Wharton Club of New York Hosts The Joseph Wharton Awards Dinner," PRWeb, September 23, 2006.
  37. "Making of a Governor," Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, January 8-21, 2007.

External articles

External resources