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Obama Finance Director Pressed Hsu For Funds

First Posted: 03/28/08 03:45 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 01:15 PM ET

Smoot knew Obama was not alone in pursuing potential fundraisers. Some were getting daily calls from presidential candidates. One potential bundler contacted by Smoot was Norman Hsu, one of the most reliable donors from her tenure as finance chair for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Hsu would later become mired in scandal as a top bundler for the Clinton campaign, but he was regarded at the time as a prime target because of his reputation for producing a steady flow of campaign cash.

In an interview -- before it was reported that Hsu was a fugitive trying to outrun a 15-year-old conviction for running a Ponzi scheme -- he recalled his call from Smoot. She asked what he thought of Obama's bid and whether he might consider helping. "I told her, 'You're asking for an unbiased opinion from someone who is very biased.' She knew I was loyal to Senator Clinton. I told her she was asking the wrong person. We both respected each other well enough not to talk about it after that."

Read the full story here.

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Filed by Nico Pitney  |