Say sleaze! Hillary with former fugitive donor Rehman Jinnah in 2000.
Clinton donor wanted by FBI in scheme to funnel money
Robin Fields and Chuck Neubauer,
Los Angeles Times, March 3, 2007
A Pakistani immigrant who hosted fundraisers in Southern California for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is being sought by the FBI on charges that he funneled illegal contributions to Clinton’s political action committee and Sen. Barbara Boxer’s 2004 reelection campaign. Authorities say Northridge businessman Abdul Rehman Jinnah, 56, fled the country after an indictment accused him of engineering more than $50,000 in illegal donations to the Democratic committees. A business associate charged as a co-conspirator has entered a guilty plea and is scheduled to be sentenced in Los Angeles next week…
The case has transformed Jinnah from a political point man on Pakistani issues, a man often photographed next to foreign dignitaries and U.S. leaders, into a fugitive with his mug shot on the FBI’s “featured fugitives” wanted list. Jinnah’s profile peaked in 2004 and 2005 as he wooed members of Congress to join a caucus advancing Pakistani concerns and brought Clinton to speak to prominent Pakistani Americans, lauding their homeland’s contributions to the war on terrorism and calling relations with Pakistan beneficial to U.S. interests.
Jinnah and his family donated more than $100,000 to the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates. Now friends say they believe Jinnah has returned to Pakistan. Attempts to reach him and his relatives were unsuccessful. A “For Sale” sign stood in his yard on Thursday, and a neighbor said the family had not lived there for months.
Maybe he was hanging with Norman Hsu.
A Pakistani businessman accused of illegally funnelling tens of thousands of dollars to the political campaigns of US senators Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer surrendered to the FBI on a year-old indictment on Tuesday, then collapsed in Los Angeles federal court, Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.
Looking tired and disoriented, Abdul Rehman Jinnah, 56, complained of chest pains and began shaking an hour into a contentious bond hearing before US Magistrate Judge Patrick J Walsh. The judge interrupted the hearing for nearly 30 minutes while paramedics attended to Jinnah. After Jinnah’s condition was stabilised and he was taken to a local hospital for an examination, Walsh set bond at $300,000.
The drama unfolded shortly after Jinnah, who has a history of heart problems and diabetes, flew back to the US from Pakistan to answer charges by a grand jury that he engineered illicit donations to Ms Clinton’s political action committee and Ms Boxer’s 2004 re-election campaign. Officials from both campaigns have said they were unaware of the alleged wrongdoing and returned the contributions.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Assistant US Attorney Dennis Mitchell urged the judge to deny Jinnah bond, arguing that he was a “tremendous flight risk” with a long history of financial misconduct that included five bankruptcy filings that had been dismissed by the courts.
Mitchell said authorities suspected that Jinnah returned to the US to face federal charges only because the government had initiated travel restrictions that made it increasingly difficult for the businessman to travel overseas. He could flee again if he believes he will be imprisoned, Mitchell said.
But Jinnah’s attorney, former federal prosecutor Douglas Fuchs, said that was “absurd,” noting that his client had voluntarily surrendered and faced only one to two years in prison if convicted.
Born in Pakistan, Jinnah immigrated to the US in the late 1980s and settled in Northridge. Over the next decade, he tried his hand at a string of businesses and left a trail of angry creditors and former business partners. But by 2004, Jinnah had positioned himself as a point man who could help the Democratic Party tap the increasingly affluent Pakistani American community for campaign funds. He and his family personally contributed $122,000 to Democratic candidates and organisations that year and held events for Ms Clinton and Ms Boxer at his home.
Stuart Schoenburg, 76, a Tarzana television producer charged as Jinnah’s co-conspirator, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour count and is awaiting sentencing.
Here’s the NYPost’s coverage of Hill and Jinnah from earlier this spring.
Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft has the FBI Wanted poster of Jinnah and much more.
Left-leaning SourceWatch compiled Jinnah’s Dem donor data.
New from the LATimes today, Norman Hsu speaks:
Democratic donor Norman Hsu said Wednesday that he would “refrain from all fundraising activities” until he resolved an outstanding warrant for his arrest stemming from a 1991 criminal case in San Mateo County. Hsu, a major fundraiser over the last three years for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and other Democrats, issued the statement through his attorney after the Los Angeles Times reported that he had been a fugitive for 15 years.
Prosecutors in California said Hsu disappeared in 1992 after pleading no contest and agreeing to serve up to three years in prison for defrauding investors in a Ponzi scheme.
Meanwhile, Clinton’s campaign said Wednesday that it would donate to charity $23,000 in direct donations from Hsu, a New York apparel executive. And other recipients of his donations distanced themselves from the businessman.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California and Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry of Massachusetts; Reps. Michael M. Honda of San Jose, Doris Matsui of Sacramento and Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania; and Al Franken, a Senate candidate in Minnesota, said they would divest their campaigns of Hsu’s donations. Clinton campaign aides had said earlier that the candidate had no plans to return money donated by Hsu, but the campaign reversed itself after The Times’ disclosure. “In light of the new information regarding Mr. Hsu’s outstanding warrant in California, we will be giving his contributions to charity,” Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said.
The campaign has not determined whether to return money Hsu raised, but Singer said it regularly reviews donations. “Should we have the basis to return one, we shall do so,” Singer said.
Hsu has donated or raised more than $1 million for Democrats and their causes. He served as a “bundler,” rounding up a group of donors and then packaging their checks together. He is a member of Clinton’s “HillRaiser” group, individuals who pledged to raise more than $100,000 for her presidential campaign.
FYI: Bill and Hill will be campaigning together in New Hampshire this weekend, according to her campaign blog.
New: From Tigerhawk, a closer look at the Paw connection and the malign and benign angles on the Hsu story.