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Dem fund-raiser
turns himself in

Dem fund-raiser
turns himself in

A top Democratic fund-raiser wanted as a fugitive in California turned himself in Friday to face a grand theft charge. San Mateo County superior court judge H. James Ellis ordered Norman Hsu handcuffed and held on $2 million bond. A bail hearing was scheduled for September 5, at which the judge will consider reducing his bail to $1 million.

Hsu appeared in court accompanied by a lawyer and publicist, both of whom declined to say whether the New York apparel executive would immediately post bail. A warrant was issued for his arrest after he skipped the sentencing for a 1991 grand theft charge.

In the ensuing years, Hsu became a top donor to numerous Democratic candidates, including presidential contenders Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama. After reports surfaced this week of Hsu's fugitive status in California, Clinton joined other candidates in returning thousands of dollars he raised, but the allegations distracted her campaign just as it prepared to ramp up for the intense post-Labor Day stretch.

The campaign announced Wednesday that $23,000 in contributions that Hsu made to her presidential and senatorial campaigns and to HillPac would be donated to charity. On Thursday, Obama's campaign said he would give to charity the $2,000 Hsu contributed to his 2004 Senate campaign and the $5,000 Hsu gave to his political action committee, Hopefund. Hsu's $43,700 in donations to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $2,500 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also will go to charity, both groups announced Thursday.

Hsu, who has an apparel business in New York and was a trustee in the city's New School, was a benefactor for many other Democratic candidates and office holders. Several also began to shed their ties to him, giving away his past donations to charity or returning them. (AP)

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