When I first started blogging for 8Asians back in 2007, I started to learn more about Asian Americans in the political realm, including fundraisers such as Norman Hsu (since convicted in 2009 and imprisoned), and even blogged about him a few times as more details became available regarding his criminal charges.
Hsu was convicted in Ponzi scheme, and recently granted the Wall Street Journal his first prison interview about politics and denying that he broke campaign-finance laws:
“The 64-year-old Mr. Hsu, who admits he ran a fraudulent investment scheme, is a reminder of the risks that campaigns take in relying on big donors who round up money from others. Such “bundlers” need influence or money to tap vast networks of donors and acquaintances, and most do so within the law. But on occasion, such fundraising techniques come back to embarrass campaigns—though usually to a smaller degree. … It is illegal for supporters to give more than $2,700 to a candidate for a primary or general election. But it is legal to bundle money from friends, family and colleagues and channel it to candidates, which can reap rewards ranging from hard-to-get restaurant reservations to ambassadorships.”
Hsu seems pretty adamant that he didn’t break any campaign laws, but did mix his business interests with his interest and involvement in politics. His campaign finance violations represent 52 months of his 292-month sentence.
Hsu is somewhat reminiscent of the earlier Asian American 1996 campaign donation scandals by Charlie Trie, Johnny Chung, John Huang and James Riady, Maria Hsia, and Ted Sioeng. These series of fundraising scandals is often noted for turning off Asian Americans, especially the older first wave of immigrants from the 1960s, to participate or contribute to campaigns.