Facts Continue to Come to Light in Hsu Case

We conservatives like to make a stink about media bias when it comes to issues and personalities. And while this is no doubt true, it is also a fact that the press loves a juicy story regardiess of whose ox is being gored.

Such is the case regarding the matter of Norman Hsu and where he got all that money to give to Democratic candidates. The press has been doing a first class job of ferreting out details of Hsu's life and business dealings to the point that it seems inevitable that we will eventually get to the bottom of this whole rotten mess.

Many media outlets have investigative reporters combing through records and have uncovered some astonishing facts. Surprisingly, the New York Times has been in the lead along with an even bigger surprise as far as a source for revelations on the story; the San Francisco Chronicle. Also doing yeoman's work have been the Wall Street Journal and several individual bloggers who have come up with interesting facts about where Hsu's money eventually ended up.

In today's NY Times, a great investigative piece sheds light on one of Hsu's companies - a business that evidently made nothing, sold nothing, and bought nothing:

A review of financial records for one of Mr. Hsu’s companies begins to shed light on some of his recent activities, including his dealings with a circle of campaign contributors that has fallen under suspicion since news of Mr. Hsu’s criminal past, murky business interests and unexplained riches rocked the Democratic Party.

The records show that Components Ltd., a company controlled by Mr. Hsu that has no obvious business purpose and appears to exist only on paper, has paid a total of more than $100,000 to at least nine people who made campaign contributions to Mrs. Clinton and others through Mr. Hsu. The payments occurred in the spring of 2003, several months before Mr. Hsu emerged as a contributor to Democrats and more than a year before he started bundling checks from those same people for various campaigns.

In all, he has raised more than $1 million for Democrats. The records make clear that the group was more than just a loose collection of friends, family and co-workers that bundlers typically rely on when raising money for a candidate. Rather, each person had a direct financial relationship with Mr. Hsu, either receiving money from his company or paying into it, even though many of them appear to have other jobs or businesses independent of him. The purpose of the payments, and whether they related to business costs, fees or expenses, is unclear.
Ed Morrissey explains:
The system described by Mike McIntyre is one that resembles a pyramid scheme, except the only payoff participant were Democratic candidates and organizations. The companies existed to take money from various people and push it through others to get the money to Hsu's political clients. It allowed the money to come through cleanly and to keep it from raising the attention of the FEC.

For instance, Components Ltd took $600,000 in receipts one month. These did not come from sales of product, but rather cash transfer from people associated with Hsu's bundled contributions, especially from two specific associates. Components Ltd them sent out $660,000 in the same month to other people connected to Hsu's bundling, although almost $100,000 of those checks bounced.
It seems clear that the entire business was set up to funnel money to the Democrats - a full year before any money made it into their coffers. This is a very sophisticated operation solely designed to avoid FEC regulations on contribution limits and reporting requirements. Since we can assume such a scheme was not ideologically driven (or at least it would be a stretch to think so), there must be another purpose. And we won't know that until we find the source of the money. 

Another aspect of the case that came to light recently has been the shady characters from Hsu's past who he tapped for money along the way. One of these was perhaps the most notorious gang leader in Chinatown
during the 1990's:

Raymond Kwok Chow, alias "Shrimp Boy," is one of Hsu's known associates. He was notorious gangster in Chinatown in the early 1990's, at roughly the same time when state prosecutors say Norman Hsu started his ponzi scheme with his latex gloves business. Chow says he is now clean, and spoke with us about his relationship with Norman Hsu.
Is Chow, in fact, "clean" as he says? Many in Chinatown finger him as the perpetrator of a brutal murder just last year. Regardless, what would Hsu be doing hooking up with this gangster?
In the 1980's and early 1990's, San Francisco's Chinatown was the battleground of a bloody war between powerful gangs. Chow's gang "Wo Hop To" finally won. This was when Chow says he met Norman Hsu. He says Hsu dabbled in clothing, import and export and real estate. He adds Hsu was also in trouble. "I guess he into a lot of financial problem back then and I loaned him some money," said Chow. "And I help him with my knowledge and with my strength. That's all there is."
Did Hsu have Chow squeeze and intimidate some of his creditors? That's what it sounds like. There's more:
In the early hours of August 28, 1990, Foster City Police stopped a car for making an illegal turn. In the back seat, they found a frightened Norman Hsu. In the front were Raymond Chow and two associates. Hsu told police he had been kidnapped. "There was a 12 hour ordeal where there was discussions, arguments. Mr. Hsu claims he was assaulted several times and threatened," said Capt. Matt Martell, Foster City Police Department. Hsu told police he had business dealings with Chow and there was a dispute over money. "And what that dollar amount was, different dollar amounts ranged between $300,000 and a $1 million worth of claims," said Capt. Martell Chow says Hsu lied, and claims it was Hsu who called him for help that night because he owed people money. "I met him because he was in trouble, and at that time, I helping him out a lot," said Chow. "The way he told me, I mean, he being extortion, he being a lot of people tried to hurt him. Chow and the others were arrested, but charges were later dropped when Hsu became uncooperative with prosecutors.
Chow's Wo Hop To gang is the American offshoot of one of the powerful Triads based in China. Chow was considered a murderous thug who extorted money from Asian American businessmen as well as running illegal gambling and drug operations. What was Norman Hsu doing borrowing money from this fellow? Just one more question to be answered about what is shaping up to be a very strange, very troubling story.