Fishy Donors Haunt Hillary’s Run


If you can't trust a millionaire who wants to funnel millions to a presidential candidate, who can you trust these days?

It's the ugly flipside of the most expensive campaign in American history. Every day brings a new set of revelations about fishy donors and fishier "bundlers" whose complicated business interests -- and, often, questionable pasts -- offer no barrier to their ability to shower cash on eager candidates (particularly, it seems, if that candidate has the last name of "Clinton").

The Wall Street Journal's Brody Mullins and Ianthe Jeanne Dugan today find another suspicious "bundler" who's helping Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.: William Danielczyk, founder of a Washington-area private-equity firm. They quote a donor, Pamela Layton, as saying she was reimbursed by Danielczyk -- her husband's boss -- for the donations -- which is quite illegal: "I don't even like Hillary. I'm a Republican," Layton said. The Clinton campaign says it's sending back the $9,200 donated by the Laytons, and will review all of the contributions brought in by Danielczyk (strarting to sound familiar?).

This, of course, comes on top of the Norman Hsu debacle (and there's more on an old alleged Hsu-devised Ponzi scheme in today's Los Angeles Times).

Another Hsu could drop today -- this from a press release this morning from the US attorney for the Southern District of New York: "A press conference will be held today to announce the unsealing of a criminal complaint charging an individual with perpetrating a $60 million 'Ponzi' fraud scheme. The complaint also alleges that the defendant committed related federal campaign finance crimes."

In addition, Clinton is still refusing to say whether she'll return money from Oscar Wyatt, who is on trial for fraud, conspiracy, and other charges related to Saddam Hussein's abuse of the UN's oil-for-food program. Wyatt appears to have had a close relationship with President Bill Clinton during the 1990s, according to testimony that's emerged at federal trials, per ABC News.

And The Washington Post's John Solomon and Matthew Mosk examine Clinton's top fund-raisers and find "several figures who were involved in the 1990s Democratic Party fundraising scandal that tarnished her husband's record."

"Among them is an Oklahoma oilman who testified in the mid-1990s that the firm he worked for, owned by Democratic fundraisers, sought to curry favor with Bill Clinton's administration by providing payments and a golf club membership to a Cabinet secretary's son," Solomon and Mosk write. "Also on the list [of "Hillraisers"] is former senator Robert G. Torricelli (D-N.J.), who withdrew from a 2002 reelection campaign after being 'severely admonished' by the Senate for taking lavish gifts from a businessman and contributor."

So far, this is more of an issue for Clinton than any other candidate -- and the issue revives the bad memories of the scandal-ridden White House years. But she's not the only candidate touched by the creeping shade of such scandals. Alan Fabian -- a fund-raiser for former governor Mitt Romney, R-Mass. -- was charged in a 23-count indictment last month alleging money laundering and obstruction of justice.

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