PawHouse.jpg By now almost everyone has seen the little Paw house on the left. It’s the little house on the flight path.

DALY CITY, Calif. — One of the biggest sources of political donations to Hillary Rodham Clinton is a tiny, lime-green bungalow that lies under the flight path from San Francisco International Airport.
Six members of the Paw family, each listing the house at 41 Shelbourne Ave. as their residence, have donated a combined $45,000 to the Democratic senator from New York since 2005, for her presidential campaign, her Senate re-election last year and her political action committee. In all, the six Paws have donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005, election records show.

Not surprisingly, the twists and turns of how this apparently modest family came to contribute so much money are not easy to follow, but the pattern looks familiar to experts, who suspect that the Paw family was a conduit for money which came from Norman Hsu — a crook who fled to Hong Kong:

Kent Cooper, a former disclosure official with the Federal Election Commission, said the two-year pattern of donations justifies a probe of possible violations of campaign-finance law, which forbid one person from reimbursing another to make contributions.
“There are red lights all over this one,” Mr. Cooper said.
There is no public record or indication Mr. Hsu reimbursed the Paw family for their political contributions.

There are too many red lights for me, and I apologize for the lengthy nature of this post, but I think the Hsu case merits attention, because it’s only the latest example of what appears to be a clear pattern.
An article yesterday elaborates:

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that a modest home in a middle-class San Francisco suburb, where the family of mail carrier William Paw resides, is listed as the address for many contributions to the Clinton campaign. Mr. Hsu once listed the home as his address, according to public records, and the Paws’ donations closely tracked his.
Mr. Hsu’s lawyer, Lawrence Barcella, took issue with a connection between his client and the Paws.
“Like every fund-raiser, he asks friends, colleagues and others to support the causes and candidates he supports. That is what every fund-raiser in America for any cause — political or nonprofit — does,” Mr. Barcella said in a written statement. “And, in none of these instances, to address the WSJ innuendo, has Mr. Hsu reimbursed them for their contributions.”

So says Mr. Hsu. But is it believable? There’s just something about a $49,000 a year mailman and his family having all this cash to contribute to a campaign that makes me skeptical.
However, the claim is being made that Hsu “hired” the mailman’s son.

Campaign-finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission list Mr. Hsu as a consultant with a company called Components Ltd.; a director of another called Next Components; a designer for Because Men’s Clothes; and an independent apparel consultant.
Mr. Hsu has been connected with the Paws for at least a decade, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Hsu recently hired William Paw’s 35-year-old son, Winkle Paw, to work for several of his New York apparel companies.

Hired to do what? What did he do? Winkle Paw explains that he has been “fortunate“:

In an email last night, one of the Paws’ sons, Winkle, said he had sometimes been asked by Mr. Hsu to make contributions, and sometimes he himself had asked family members to donate. But he added: “I have been fortunate in my investments and all of my contributions have been my money.”

It’s nice to be fortunate, and I don’t doubt he has the cash flow. But who is behind the spigot and how does it work?
In today’s San Francisco Chronicle, there’s a long story headlined “Democrats abandon fundraiser who turns out to be fugitive felon.” The details of the story make it quite clear that Hsu is a crook who has fled back to his native Hong Kong. As to his his dealings with Winkle Paw, there are more red flags:

Hillary Clinton and other Democrats scrambled to distance themselves from a big-name party fundraiser who was exposed Wednesday as a fugitive who disappeared 15 years ago after pleading no contest to felony grand theft in the Bay Area.
Norman Hsu, a 56-year-old New York resident, also has been linked to a Daly City family that has become a major Democratic donor. The family has given money to many of the same candidates and party causes as Hsu, their longtime friend and business partner.
Some Democrats also were scrutinizing contributions from members of the Daly City family, the Paws, who could not be reached for comment at their home or over the telephone.
Hsu, whom Democrats acknowledged as an important backer earlier this week, had moved to the persona non grata list by Wednesday.
On Tuesday, for example, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson called Hsu “a longtime and generous supporter of the Democratic Party.” By Wednesday afternoon, Luis Vizcaino, a California spokesman for the New York senator’s presidential campaign, said it would give all $23,000 of Hsu’s contributions to charity.
Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, went further. Not only will she return $8,000 Hsu contributed to her campaigns, she also will give back $2,500 from siblings Winkle and Marina Paw, who both live on Shelbourne Avenue with their parents, William and Alice Paw.

Het wait a second! If Paw lives in California, how’s he managing to work in New York? Bicoastal commuting isn’t easy.
But we are told that Winkle has “recently” been hired by the fleeing fugitive to “work” “for several of his New York apparel companies.”
Come on!
No wonder candidates are returning the money.

“When any contribution is called into question in any way by a credible source, it is the congresswoman’s position to return the funds,” said Lauren Smith, a spokeswoman for Matsui.
San Jose Rep. Mike Honda, Al Franken, who is a Senate candidate in Minnesota, and Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania also said they were purging Hsu’s money from their campaigns.

Al Franken? Well, there’s a guy with lots of experience at avoiding financial scandals. If he’s sending his money back, that’s a pretty strong clue that it’s funny money.

The presidential campaign intrigue descended upon the Paws’ neatly kept, lime-green home in Daly City this week when it was revealed that the family had given more than $200,000 to Clinton and other Democratic candidates for national office in recent years, more money than high-profile donors like the Maloof family, owners of the Sacramento Kings basketball team, have given.

“Intrigue” is definitely the right word, for intrigue it is.
If this story only involved the disappearing Hsu — the crook Hillary never knew was a crook — and a few people used as passthroughs to launder the campaign money, that would be one thing. In Hsu’s case, of course the evidence is overwhelming that not only is he a crook, but he’s a smoke-and-mirrors, now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t specialist for whom money laundering would appear to be child’s play:

“Bundling is legal as long as everyone is contributing his own money,” said Bob Stern, president of the nonpartisan Center for Governmental Studies. “But when one person supplies the money, that’s money laundering, not bundling.”
The difference, however, can be hard to prove.
“If everyone maintains the same story – ‘It’s my money’ – there’s really no way of challenging that unless law enforcement gets involved,” said Susan Lerner of Clean Money California, a group backing public financing of campaigns.
“For candidates, it’s a ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ situation. They keep having shady characters who are wondrous bundlers because they have no incentive to ask, ‘Who are you and where does this money come from?’ ”
In the grand theft case, Hsu was charged with bilking about 20 investors, including his ex-girlfriend, in connection with a business that was supposed to deliver, among other things, latex gloves to a firm that provides supplies to maids and exterminators. Smetana said investors lost about $1 million.
The problem, authorities said at the time, was that Hsu never bought any gloves, and the company he was supposed to sell them to had never heard of him.
Some investors initially received payouts, but those stopped in the spring of 1990. Hsu, prosecutors alleged, even went so far as to file a fake lawsuit against himself to try to explain why he was short of funds.
“What Mr. Hsu was in the business of was running a Ponzi scheme,” Smetana said at a preliminary hearing, according to a transcript. “He was taking money and spending part of it on himself and returning it as it was available. As with any Ponzi scheme, the first ones in and the first ones out always do quite well.”

Back to the title — “Democrats abandon fundraiser who turns out to be fugitive felon.”
I’d like to offer a slight correction for the headline.
“Democrats abandon another fundraiser who turns out to be fugitive felon.”
That’s because (notwithstanding the complaint that the WSJ piece is a smear on Asians) this whole thing is so eerily reminiscent of the still unresolved Peter Paul affair that I initially was confused by the headline and thought that might be what it was about. The pattern is similar. Paul held a huge fundraiser, and was so chummy with Hillary that she regaled him with a tale of a blind date:

Nothing wrong with being chummy with the guy. After all, the event raised a small fortune. But when the scandal broke, Paul became Mr. “Who”? because that was Hillary’s response when asked about him.
Lest anyone think this is a right wing conspiracy theory just because it involves Hillary, ABC News did a major expose of Paul and the Google video of it follows. (According to the caption, “Disney brass were coerced by Hillary to re-edit the piece the night before broadcast to take out all references to Hillary’s finance director, David Rosen.”)If you watch the above videos, you’ll notice an older man sitting to HIllary’s left. He’s Stan Lee, creator of the famed Spider Man. Here’s a video of him stating that the money reported as being donated by him was not his:

Showed the check he wrote, Mr. Lee, says it was reimbursed by Peter Paul, exclaiming “I never had a hundred thousand dollars to donate to anybody!”
I think it’s kind of sad to drag a distinguished comics artist into a money laundering scheme when he ought to be enjoying his old age. But I guess that’s politics as usual.
The Peter Paul and Hillary stuff doesn’t really stand out in the Wiki entry for Mr. Lee, but it does link a WaPo piece with a title that’s a mouthful — House Of Cards — What do Cher, a Hollywood con man, a political rising star and an audacious felon have in common? Together they gave Bill and Hillary Clinton a night they’ll never forget — no matter how hard they may try. To read the details of how Stan Lee was inveigled into the mess, you have to skip to the last page of the article. It’s long and complicated, but Paul (a convicted felon) wanted one of those pardons, he didn’t get it, and he ended up skipping to Brazil, without much regard for Mr. Lee:

In January 2001, the New York Senate 2000 Committee filed a report with the FEC stating that the Hollywood gala had been produced with in-kind contributions — meaning goods and services, not cash — of $401,419. The donor for $366,564 of that was listed as Stan Lee Media.
Sitting in Brazil fuming and scheming, Paul tried to trade what he knew about the financing of the Hollywood gala in exchange for federal prosecutors giving him immunity for securities fraud, court records and correspondence show.

Paul is of course a crook, and I don’t blame Hillary for saying “Who?”
The story of Paul with Bill and Hill is also quite amusing, but again, it’s all on the last page of the WaPo story. Is that the upside down pyramid style of journalism? The boring stuff on top, and the good stuff lies at the bottom? Even truly great stuff — like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and Bill Clinton crying over inaugural comings out:

[Bill Clinton] sang along as Diana Ross belted out “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” He wiped away tears when Melissa Etheridge said that Clinton had brought such a spirit of openness to the land that she was inspired to announce during his inauguration festivities that she was gay.
Through it all, Paul sat beaming in the front row right next to the first family, photos of that night show. In one, Paul is at the president’s right, with Clinton’s hand resting familiarly on his shoulder. To Clinton’s left, is Paul’s wife, Andrea, a tall, striking blonde, a presidential arm wrapped tightly around her waist.

Crook though he is, Paul seems to be persistent in his attempts to get the false Hillary campaignn disclosure statements corrected (which explains the Stan Lee video).
The Peter Paul scandal doesn’t seem to want to go away, and in June Michelle Malkin wrote a post called “Hillary courts the X-men vote” which has another video.
Right now, of course, the focus is on Hillary’s latest abandoned fugitive felon fundraiser. Michelle Malkin had a post on that, and today she has a nostalgic post about Hillary’s relationship with former fugitive donor Rehman Jinnah.
Who?
I hope this abandonment of fugitive felon fundraisers isn’t a pattern.
I mean, if I were a fugitive felon fundraiser, my feelings would be hurt!
(All talk of “Castro’s Dream Team” notwithstanding. Of course, if the Freepers are right, Castro isn’t very fond of Peter Paul.)
QUESTION: If the Hsu story is a smear against Asians, does that mean the Peter Paul story is a smear against elderly cartoonists?
How far does identity politics go?
UPDATE: Norman Hsu has also given (or directed) a lot of money to Pennsylvania Democrats. Governor Ed Rendell is keeping his $37K:

one of Norman Hsu’s biggest beneficiaries in the state, Gov. Rendell, said yesterday that he would keep the money – and stand by his friend – unless he learned more damaging information about the case.
“I want to hear him out; I don’t want to be one of the guys to pile on,” Rendell said. “Norman Hsu’s one of the best 10 people I’ve met. He raised money for me because he believes in all the things we’re doing and he never asked for a bloody thing – not a job, not a contract, not [even] to attend a wedding.”

Rendell expressed skepticism over the claim that Hsu was a fugitive:

Rendell received $37,866 from Hsu during 2005 and 2006, according to state campaign-finance records. Pennsylvania does not limit the size of contributions.
The governor said he would return the money if California had a “sustainable conviction” in the fraud case. “I’m amazed how he could be a ‘fugitive’ . . . and one of the most visible people in American politics,” Rendell said.

I didn’t realize he was “one of the most visible people in American politics,” but I guess I wasn’t paying attention.
Recently elected U.S. Reps Joe Sestak and Patrick Murphy said they would return the Hsu contributions, but not those from Winkle Paw (described in the Inquirer as “an investor from Daly City, Calif., who has done business with Hsu.”)
Paw seems to know how to spread his money around. Business must be great!
UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link.
Welcome all!
I made a few corrections in the above, and I guess here is as good a place as any to note commenter Bill Roper’s complaint that I should have called Mr. Lee a writer and not an artist. (My ignorance about the comics field is obviously showing.)
UPDATE (08/31/07): At 8:45 a.m. PDT, Norman Hsu surrendered to authorities in San Mateo, California.