Wed 29 Oct, 2008 09:23 am
Campaign donor's giving raises questions
Little known about man who has sent thousands to GOP
By Andrew Zajac, Ray Gibson and Bob Secter | Tribune reporters
October 29, 2008
Big campaign donors typically come with deep pockets and influence. But in Illinois this election cycle, no one not running for office himself has given more to the nation's federal campaigns than Shi Sheng Hao of Roselle, a virtual unknown in business and political circles.
Before September 2007, Hao's name had never appeared in the 15-year-old federal database of campaign contributors. Since then, however, his donations have topped $120,000 " including $70,100 on a single June day to Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
Over the same time frame, a network of Hao relatives has kicked in more. The take from this group over the last 13 months exceeds $269,000, a small amount to Democrats but most of it to McCain and the Republican National Committee, records show.
Hao didn't register to vote at the northwest suburban address attached to his donations until October 2007, a month after he wrote his first political check, $25,000 to the RNC.
The circumstances surrounding Hao's sudden and prolific political activism are curious and his whereabouts unclear. His name isn't listed on property records or the mailbox at the unassuming tract home listed on his donations. Hao lives "overseas," insisted a man who answered the door at the Roselle home recently. The man declined to identify himself.