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McCaskill to give up donations related to Hsu

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Claire McCaskill on Tuesday joined the growing ranks of lawmakers who are giving up campaign donations linked to disgraced Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu.

The Missouri Democrat said she made the decision over the weekend, as the cloud of suspicion has grown surrounding contributions from donors connected to Hsu.

McCaskill took no money directly from Hsu, but her staff has estimated that the senator received more than $18,000 from people reportedly associated with Hsu, including the family of William Paw of Daly City, Calif.

On Friday, McCaskill said she had no plans to return the money from Hsu-related donors because there was no evidence they had done anything wrong. But she pledged to give up any campaign money if it was discovered to be from illegal sources or from people accused of crimes.

Hsu is under federal investigation for allegedly violating election laws. An FBI official said Monday it is investigating whether Hsu paid so-called straw donors to send campaign contributions to political campaigns, including those of Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barrack Obama, D-Ill.

"I've just decided that I'm not comfortable with what has transpired over the last week as it relates to Norman Hsu," McCaskill said. "We are now in the process of identifying any contributions that he was involved in, and we will either be returning those contributions or donating them to charity."

Clinton's presidential campaign announced Monday that it would return $850,000 in donations raised by Hsu.

Hsu, a Hong Kong native, had spent 15 years on the lam from a 1991 theft conviction until surrendering to authorities in August.

Paw is a San Francisco mail carrier who gave maximum donations to several of the same candidates Hsu supported. His family lives in a modest home that Hsu once listed as belonging to him.

The Missouri Republican Party had called on McCaskill to return the contributions from the Paws and other Hsu associates.

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