The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

30 August 2007

Al Franken Senate Fundraising, Norman Hsu Scandal

FISHY FRANKENCA$H

Tainted Dem Donation Also Reached Stuart







Where have we heard this one before?

Former Air America Radio host and current Minnesota senatorial candidate Al Franken is among the Democrats caught up in a fundraising scandal involving fishy cash from an even fishier source. Had the donor's background not been exposed by the news media, would our friend Stuart Smalley have been willing to give back the cash?


WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will give to charity the $23,000 in donations she has received from a fundraiser who is wanted in California for failing to appear for sentencing on a 1991 grand theft charge.

The decision came Wednesday as other Democrats began distancing themselves from Norman Hsu, whose legal encounters and links to other Democratic donors have drawn public scrutiny in the past two days.

Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, both of Massachusetts, also planned to turn over Hsu's contributions to charity. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California; Al Franken, a Senate candidate in Minnesota; Reps. Michael Honda and Doris Matsui of California; and Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania also said they would divest Hsu's contributions.

Hsu is a fundraiser for Clinton and is described as a devoted fan of the presidential candidate and New York senator. He had planned to co-host a money event for Clinton on Sept. 30. In a statement Wednesday, Hsu said he believed he had resolved his legal issues, but said he would halt his work raising political money.

"I would not consciously subject any of the candidates and causes in which I believe to any harm through my actions," he said. "Therefore, until this matter is resolved, I intend to refrain from all fundraising activities on behalf of all candidates and causes."

Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer said the $23,000 included contributions from Hsu to Clinton's presidential campaign, her Senate re-election and her political action committee. The campaign did not plan to return any money Hsu raised from other donors, Singer said.

"In light of the information regarding Mr. Hsu's outstanding warrant in California, we will be giving his contribution to charity," Singer said.


Granted, this fundraising scandal is sinking boats quite a bit bigger than Franken's, but it's still interesting to see a pattern of behavior emerge where Stuart quietly benefits from shady inflows. Shouldn't voters take a closer look at the real sources of his campaign cash?


Meanwhile, last night's Hannity & Colmes show did a great job delving into the broader scandal with guest John Fund of the Wall Street Journal. Here's the transcript. In addition, Minnesota Public Radio has a lengthy report on how the MN senate race is playing out at the summer fairs.


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12 Comments:

  • Franken isn't even elected and he's getting his sticky fingers into illegal fundraising. He'll be a Godsend to Minnesota talk radio.

    By Blogger PCD, at 30 August, 2007 12:55  

  • The amount of money Franken has to return won't have much of an effect of his "Hollywood financed" campaign.

    But there will be repercussions in the local Minnesota communities to Franken's perceived association with this criminal fugitive.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 30 August, 2007 13:27  

  • Benson: Franken receives a greater percentage of contributions from in-state than does Coleman. So is that "Hollywood-financed?"

    By Blogger Justin, at 30 August, 2007 13:35  

  • The Franken-Hollywood connection is obvious to everyone.

    During an episode of ABC's 'The View', comedian Bill Maher said, 'I love Al Franken. I hope he wins.'
    'Me too,'said co-host Rosie O'Donnell. 'I'm maxing out to him. I'm maxing out my contribution.'

    Now that the dollar numbers have been logged for the second quarter (April through June) of the past six months of fundraising, Franken has tapped Rosie O'Donnell, Bill Maher, Dan Aykroyd, Robin Williams, Ed Norton, Harold Ramis and Meg Ryan. The first-quarter performance included contributions from Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jason Alexander and Larry David.

    All solid Minnesotans? NOT!

    Sure, it is legal for contributors to live in other states, but that is not my point.

    Even the AP agrees with the Hollywood financed connection:
    The AP says Franken's friends in the entertainment field helped catapult him to a "surprising" lead in second-quarter money: about $1.9 million, compared with only $1.6 million for Coleman, and $750,000 for other Democratic candidate Mike Ciresi.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 30 August, 2007 14:49  

  • Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, both of Massachusetts, also planned to turn over Hsu's contributions to charity. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California; Al Franken, a Senate candidate in Minnesota; Reps. Michael Honda and Doris Matsui of California; and Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania also said they would divest Hsu's contributions.

    Gee, the fact that all those democrats are actually divesting themselves of the money seems to be lost on you girls. Hsu's a political bundler and a serial donor. But, just for fun... let's look at the friends of Jack.

    Bush is keeping $94K in Abramoff money.nAbramoff raised over $100,000 for the 2004 Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, but the campaign is “giving up only $6,000 directly from Abramoff, his wife and one of the Indian tribes that he worked to win influence for in Washington.” (via TalkLeft) January 4, 2006 2:17 pm

    Ryun, R-Topeka, was the only member of the Kansas delegation other than Brownback to receive a financial contribution from Abramoff, for $250 in 1996. He's not giving the money back, according to spokesman Nick Reid, who says that the contribution was legal.

    Rep. Roy Blunt today joined Tom DeLay in returning his Abramoff contributions. Sort of. His office says he'll only return the $8.5K donated to his PAC directly from Abramoff and he'll keep the money donated by associates and tribal clients.

    Rep. John Doolittle ... believes that giving Abramoff's money back would only make him look guilty of doing something wrong.
    "Congressman Doolittle refuses to give even the slightest appearance of something wrong by returning money that was accepted legally and ethically," said the congressman's spokeswoman, Laura Blackann.

    And, to be totally fair...

    Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, is keeping the $30,500 donated to him and his political action committees by tribes represented by Abramoff. "He feels that Abramoff was a Republican operative, and this is a Republican scandal," said Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley. "He's done nothing improper."

    So, Brian. Franken's divesting himself of Hsu's dollars. Seems as if you have yet another non-issue posting (Don't worry, Brian... we understand your Franken man crush) Hsu's a serial democratic fund raiser who, until revelations of a 16 year old warrant (interesting how he still lives in the same state and yet no one in California law enforcement bothered to pick him up a decade and a half after his conviction)had never been an issue. But, it does give you a chance to let Al know you can't get him out of your mind. It's sad but kinda sweet Brian. Really.

    By Blogger Dave Carroll, at 30 August, 2007 15:30  

  • Benson: I didn't say there wasn't a connection. Of course there is, given Franken's career.

    My only point (please stay with me)is that Franken has received more money from Minnesotans than has Coleman. As such, his campaign is far more accurately described as "Minnesota-financed" than Hollywood-financed.

    By Blogger Justin, at 30 August, 2007 16:41  

  • Dave:

    Remember, this blog is the RADIO equalizer, so the focus should be on people associated with radio.

    There were payola scandals in the early rock and roll years.

    There was a scandal about a "commentator" receiving money to promote conservative/Republican causes.

    But by far the "gift that keeps on giving" in recent memory involving radio has been the financial misdeed legacy associated with Air America, kept alive by its most famous alum, Mr. Franken.

    By Blogger Missouri Show Me, at 30 August, 2007 20:13  

  • "Remember, this blog is the RADIO equalizer, so the focus should be on people associated with radio."

    How long has it been since Franken was on the radio, anyway?

    Perhaps you neocon filth have the capability to continue to hear him broadcasting, long after any programming has ceased to be transmitted?

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 30 August, 2007 20:23  

  • Brian wrote

    "Granted, this fundraising scandal is sinking boats quite a bit bigger than Franken's, but it's still interesting to see a pattern of behavior emerge where Stuart quietly benefits from shady inflows. Shouldn't voters take a closer look at the real sources of his campaign cash?

    Since this is Franken's first ever political campaign, the only thing available to look for a "pattern of behavior" would be to look at the results of his fundraising. Records of his fundraising are available at the site http://www.fec.gov/

    So far there is one donation of $2300 that has drawn attention, because it was made by someone with a questionable past. That's $2300 out of $3,278,313 raised in the first two quarters of the year. That works out to 0.070158% of his contributions, or 7 cents of each 100 dollars.

    Since it comprises such a small portion of Franken's contributions, can anyone reasonably expected that this contribution would somehow have raised a red flag?? I'm sure we all agree that it's not possible or necessary to do full background checks on all contributors.

    Franken did all that he possibly could have. When he was made aware of the problems with the contribution, he said he would not keep the money. Yet somehow because he received this contribution, Brian would lead you to believe that this should cause you to question Franken's trustworthiness.

    The records of his campaign contributions are available at
    http://www.fec.gov/
    Check them out for yourself, see if you can find his "pattern" of "shady inflows".

    By Blogger Ezsuds, at 31 August, 2007 02:02  

  • Hash:

    Let's think about what Al's resume worksheet would be like:

    Current employment--unemployed (best to leave that part out)

    Last employment--radio, with supplemental income from book royalties (put book royalties in "accomplishment" section)

    Hmmmmm--sounds like Al still fits the description of "radio guy".

    PS: I shower at least once per day--far from being filthy.

    By Blogger Missouri Show Me, at 31 August, 2007 08:06  

  • Missouri Show me wrote:

    Remember, this blog is the RADIO equalizer, so the focus should be on people associated with radio.

    Couldn't agree more, Missouri. But, as Franken is no longer in radio, he shouldn't be an endless obsession with Brian. Say what you will this is a POLITICAL website which, for the most part focuses on POLITICAL issues. Brian is quick, and rightly free, to focus soley on the political aspects of talk radio. But, his choice to focus on the "sausage factory" aspects of politics, like fund raising, invites, nay, begs retort.

    When Brian wishes to focus on radio versus politics, I will happily respond accordingly.

    By Blogger Dave Carroll, at 31 August, 2007 12:42  

  • "Hmmmmm--sounds like Al still fits the description of "radio guy"."

    Not unless he's planning to return to radio, which seems quite unlikely.

    "PS: I shower at least once per day--far from being filthy."

    But the neocon must use the proper cleanser...Ajax...and a good, stiff-bristled brush to scrub away the filth.

    You will come clean, one day.

    But you have to SCRUB...

    Scrub....

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 31 August, 2007 23:46  

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