Fox's Hannity asserted the Paws "only make $49,000 a year"

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

On Hannity & Colmes, while discussing The Wall Street Journal's suggestion that businessman Norman Hsu may have funneled illegal campaign contributions to Sen. Hillary Clinton by reimbursing members of a California family, the Paws, for contributions made to Clinton under their names -- Sean Hannity asserted: "They [the Paws] only make $49,000 a year. Where did they get the $250,000?"

On the August 29 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, while discussing a recent Wall Street Journal article -- which suggested that Norman Hsu, a "wealthy New York businessman" and "top fundraiser[]," may have funneled illegal campaign contributions to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) by reimbursing members of a California family, the Paws, for contributions made to Clinton under their names -- co-host Sean Hannity asserted: "They [the Paws] only make $49,000 a year. Where did they get the $250,000?" In fact, while the Journal reported that "William Paw, the 64-year-old head of the household" "earns about $49,000 a year" and that his wife, "Alice Paw, also 64, is a homemaker," the Paw donations reported in the article did not come solely from William and Alice Paw. The Journal further noted that the money donated by the family to Clinton totaled about $200,000, not the $250,000 Hannity and Wall Street Journal OpinionJournal.com columnist John Fund, a guest on the show, alleged.

On August 28, the Journal reported: "Six members of the Paw family, each listing the house at 41 Shelbourne Ave. as their residence, have donated a combined $45,000 to the Democratic senator from New York since 2005, for her presidential campaign, her Senate re-election last year and her political action committee. In all, the six Paws have donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005, election records show." Brody Mullins, the reporter who wrote the article, added: "The couple's [William and Alice Paw] grown children have jobs ranging from account manager at a software company to 'attendance liaison' at a local public high school. One is listed on campaign records as an executive at a mutual fund."

Additionally, as Media Matters for America documented, half of the $200,000 in political contributions came from Winkle Paw, an adult son. According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Winkle Paw made $100,550 in contributions to political committees since 2004. (The bulk of Winkle Paw's contributions were made in 2005, 2006, and 2007 -- his donations totaled $3,000 in 2004.) Additionally, Winkle Paw has donated $2,800 to joint fundraising committees -- which raise money to be distributed to other committees and are listed separately by the FEC -- since 2005.

Earlier in the segment, Fund had asserted that "[t]he [Paw] family there has contributed over $250,000 to Democratic candidates in the last three years. They never contributed before 2004 to anyone." Fund also stated that "[William Paw] makes $49,000 a year," that "his wife is a homemaker," and that "[t]here's very little other income in the family."

On Hannity, co-host Alan Colmes began the segment by asking Fund: "Is there any evidence that ... Hillary Clinton knew anything of what Hsu was doing, if indeed he did anything illegal, that she had any knowledge ... that this was going on?" Fund replied: "At this point, no. But ... I think we need to learn more." Later, when Colmes asked, "[D]o you have any public record or indication that Hsu reimbursed the Paw family?" Fund responded: "No, but I have strong suspicions of it," adding: "[T]he Paw family should come forward." But, as Media Matters also noted, Hsu's lawyer, Larry Barcella said in an August 28 statement posted on Talkleft.com, that in addition to making the comments published by the Journal, he had offered to provide financial information showing that the Paws were able to make such donations: "I told the reporter [presumably Mullins] and his editor that I had reviewed the Paw's [sic] financial records, which clearly demonstrated that they easily had the financial wherewithal to make any level of contributions. ... I asked the reporter, in the presence of his editor, if I got permission to let them see the Paws' financial information, which shows their resources, would they not run the story? His editor responded 3 times that they were running the story anyway." The Journal article did not address the purported offer of the Paws' private financial information. Instead, the Journal simply reported:

Lawrence Barcella, a Washington attorney representing Mr. Hsu, said in a separate email: "You are barking up the wrong tree. There is no factual support for this story and if Mr. Hsu's name was Smith or Jones, I don't believe it would be a story." He didn't elaborate.

The Journal also reported:

People who answered the phone and the door at the Paws' residence declined requests for comment last week. In an email last night, one of the Paws' sons, Winkle, said he had sometimes been asked by Mr. Hsu to make contributions, and sometimes he himself had asked family members to donate. But he added: "I have been fortunate in my investments and all of my contributions have been my money."

Colmes also stated during the show: "[G]enerally, you know, the candidates are not aware, day to day, of what's happening with people who may contribute, who are buying contributions." As Media Matters noted, the Journal article reported: "In the wake of a 2002 law that set ... limits [on campaign donations], federal and state regulators and law-enforcement officials said they have seen a spike recently in the number of cases of individuals and companies illegally reimbursing others for campaign donations. Those cases don't necessarily implicate the candidates, who sometimes don't even appear to be aware of such payments executed on their behalf."

From the August 29 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

COLMES: Is there any evidence that the -- Hillary Clinton knew anything of what Hsu was doing, if indeed he did anything illegal, that she had any knowledge --

FUND: At this point --

COLMES: -- that this was going on?

FUND: At this point, no. But we -- I think we need to learn more. And I think we need to have Mr. Hsu found. After all, there's a warrant out for his arrest on grand theft. I think he should be brought in and should be asked a lot of questions about a lot of things.

COLMES: What -- she should be brought in?

FUND: No, Mr. Hsu --

COLMES: He should --

FUND: -- should be brought in.

COLMES: Mr. Hsu should probably -- but you want to pin this on Hillary Clinton because of his behavior?

FUND: No! No, no. The only concern with the Clinton campaign is we have seen strange campaign contribution scandals before. The 1996 campaign saw 120 people connected to the Clinton fundraising efforts either flee the country to avoid questioning or plead the Fifth Amendment.

[...]

FUND: I want questions and answers.

COLMES: There's no evidence of it. In fact, there's no public record or indication that Hsu reimbursed, for example, the Paw family, the family in California --

FUND: No.

COLMES: -- that gave like-minded contributions to the Hillary Clinton campaign.

FUND: -- we also have this gentleman who has just fled to Pakistan because he gave illegal campaign contributions. He has fled the country. I'm saying there are ominous parallels with exactly what went wrong in the 1996 --

COLMES: Right.

FUND: -- Clinton campaign, and we never got the answers to what was the [inaudible].

COLMES: But, generally, you know that candidates are not aware, day-to-day, of what's happening with people who may contribute, who are buying contributions.

FUND: Except, in 1996, we do know Bill Clinton was aware.

COLMES: But, did you -- but, what does that have to do with now, John?

FUND: He was aware of the Lincoln bedroom. He was --

COLMES: John, what does it have to do with this? You want to keep going back to 1996 --

FUND: Because the Clintons have a modus operandi. This is a pattern, here, Alan.

COLMES: You want to go back to '96 --

FUND: It's a pattern.

HANNITY: Wait, hang on a second.

COLMES: -- and it has nothing to do with this.

HANNITY: You know what? You guys are arguing. I want to go through this step by step and explain exactly, especially as it relates to the Paw family, where you have a gentleman that only makes $45,000 per year --

FUND: And his wife is a homemaker.

HANNITY: -- and his wife is a homemaker. Why don't you explain in detail what's happening here and why this is significant? He's a fugitive, by the way.

FUND: Absolutely. We can't find him. Although he's sponsoring a Clinton fundraiser September 30, Mr. Hsu is. The Paw family is very interesting. They live in a house that Mr. Hsu used to own in Daly City, California.

HANNITY: Right.

FUND: The family there has contributed over $250,000 to Democratic candidates in the last three years. They never contributed before 2004 to anyone.

HANNITY: Right.

FUND: He makes $49,000 a year. There's very little other income in the family.

HANNITY: Right.

FUND: They apparently have all of this money. The suspicion is that, like with a lot of campaign finance scandals, Mr. Hsu may have been reimbursing them in order to make those contributions to evade the campaign contribution limits. That would be the suspicion.

HANNITY: All right, so in other words, that they would be funneling the money from Mr. Hsu,

FUND: Laundering.

HANNITY: -- basically, through the Paw family --

FUND: Right.

HANNITY: -- to get it into the Clinton coffers there. All right.

FUND: Exactly.

[...]

COLMES: Whose in jail because of this?

FUND: In jail? The investigation goes on. The Federal Election Commission says they're continuing the investigation.

COLMES: All right -- do you have any public record or indication that Hsu reimbursed the Paw family?

FUND: No, but I have strong suspicions of it.

COLMES: Suspicions. All right.

FUND: Oh, well, where are -- the Paw family should come forward.

HANNITY: Where did they get the money? They only make $49,000 a year. Where did they get $250,000?

COLMES: Greta is here to tell us what's coming up next On the Record right after Hannity & Colmes.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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