Hu Is This Guy?

Posted December 5, 2007 at 6:48pm

Jack Hu is chairman of the United States Senate Advisory Committee, a little-known political action committee that supports Republican candidates. [IMGCAP(1)]

The USSAC is not a high-dollar donor. Hu said his goal for the 2008 cycle is to raise and donate around $50,000 to Republican candidates. In the previous cycle, the USSAC donated $14,100, according to Federal Election Committee reports.

But lately, Hu, a young Asian-American, and his PAC have created waves among some Beltway Republicans for making claims on the USSAC Web site that appear to be untrue.

For one, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman is not the PAC’s general counsel, as the Web site had suggested until Wednesday afternoon. Additionally, Hu appears to have misrepresented the USSAC’s involvement with Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), sources close to each Member say.

Then there’s the fact that the USSAC Web site was created to resemble those of the National Republican Congressional Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee — which Hu acknowledged is not a coincidence.

“I wouldn’t say it was completely like theirs. But we tried to take some ideas,” Hu said during a telephone interview this week.

Mehlman is a partner at the Washington, D.C., office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Though Hu insisted Tuesday that Mehlman is serving as the PAC’s general counsel, a source close to the former RNC chairman said Tuesday that claim is false.

Mehlman “is not a general counsel, and [Hu’s] Web site will reflect that very quickly,” this source said, also on Tuesday. By Wednesday afternoon, Mehlman’s name and picture had been removed from the Web site under the heading of general counsel.

Meanwhile, sources close to Thune and Royce said Wednesday that the USSAC Web site is mischaracterizing the PAC’s involvement with an Oct. 14, 2006, fundraiser that was held for the South Dakota Senator in Orange County, Calif.

A source close to Thune said the fundraiser did occur and acknowledged that Hu acted as co-host of the event. However, the USSAC site posts the event as one of the PAC’s “past events,” while additionally posting remarks made by Hu at the fundraiser that leaves the impression that the event was an official PAC event.

“Thank you very much. Congressman Royce, thank you for coming. To all the staff and volunteers thank you for all that you do for this committee (Applause),” read the remarks, which are dated Oct. 14, 2006, and have a Newport Coast, Calif., dateline. “I’d like to thank Senator Thune for taking time away from his family, his state and the Congress to join us today in support of the United States Senate Advisory Committee. This committee serves great purposes.”

The source close to Royce said the Congressman attended the event, but referred to it as a Thune fundraiser, saying the California Republican was not aware that it had anything to do with the USSAC. The source close to Thune said the Senator has never been associated with the PAC, either for the 2006 event or otherwise.

Along with the remarks, Hu posted pictures on the PAC Web site of himself with Royce and Thune.

In fact, Hu is pictured with several high-ranking Republicans on the site, including President Bush. Hu even claims to have held multiple one-one-one policy discussions with the president, although he said those occurred at private receptions held for donors or in the rope line for the photographs that are posted online.

Relatively speaking, USSAC does not appear to be a big-money operation — at least when it comes to supporting GOP candidates. But the several claims made by the PAC that can’t be substantiated have been disconcerting to those involved.

In his interview with Roll Call, Hu professed a desire to help Republican candidates who have a pro-business agenda. However, he declined to answer several questions — chief among them his age.

Hu also declined, beyond referring to executive director Jason Picken, to reveal who is staffing the two offices the PAC claims to inhabit, including one on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest in Washington, D.C., and one in Newport Beach, Calif.

“This is the thing I consider as my day job,” Hu said, when asked how he earns a living. “The reason we created this — in talking with the members of my party and individuals not in my party — we came up with something that we believed should be created to help further business. It hasn’t gotten to the point where we are fully satisfied, but we are getting there.”

Among the PAC’s donations in the previous cycle were $500 to current NRSC Chairman John Ensign (Nev.); $500 to then-Sen. George Allen (R-Va.); $2,100 to Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.); $500 to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.); $500 to then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.); and $10,000 to Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.).

A Squadron of Schumer Alumni. Daniel Squadron, a former aide to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) who now works for one of the top political consulting firms in New York, is preparing to run for a state Senate seat in Brooklyn.

According to the New York Daily News, Squadron, the co-author of Schumer’s book “Positively American,” has a fundraiser scheduled for next week as he prepares to launch a Democratic primary challenge to veteran state Sen. Martin Connor (D). He is currently working for Knickerbocker SKD, a firm started by Josh Isay, a former Schumer chief of staff.

Pryor Engagement. Pam Pryor has been hired as the project director of Americans for Redistricting Reform.

Pryor comes to ARR from We Care America, where she served as vice president of government relations. Prior to that she served as chief of staff to then-House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts (Okla.).

Americans for Redistricting Reform is a joint project of The Campaign Legal Center, along with the League of Women Voters and the Council for Excellence in Government, and is slated to launch early next year. Initial funding for the project is being provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

The goal of the project is to build public support and be a resource for state-level redistricting reform efforts nationwide.

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