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Apr 4, 2007
Sikhs-for-Clinton Fund-Raiser Scuttled for 'Security Reasons' - November 16, 2007 - The New York Sun

Sikhs-for-Clinton Fund-Raiser Scuttled for 'Security Reasons'

Sikhs-for-Clinton Fund-Raiser Scuttled for 'Security Reasons'


Staff Reporter of the Sun
November 16, 2007 updated 11/17/07 12:23 am EST

A $1-million fund-raiser Sikhs were planning to hold in Bakersfield, Calif. on Sunday morning for Senator Clinton's presidential campaign has been abruptly canceled, or at least postponed, people familiar with the event said today.
The invitations said both Mrs. Clinton and President Clinton were to attend, a rare occurrence that signals the large sums that were expected and the political pull of the organizers.
"It was canceled for security reasons," a person behind the $1000-a-plate breakfast, Sharnjit Dhaliwal, told The New York Sun today. She initially would not elaborate on the problem, but said they were hoping to stage the event later.

A Democratic Party official in Kern County, Calif. said the fund-raiser ran into trouble because the Secret Service would not "clear" one of the organizers of the gathering. "One of the promoters had recently been to India. His hometown is on the Pakistani border and he crossed into Pakistan," the Kern County Democratic Chair, Candi Easter, said.
A spokesman for the Secret Service, James Mackin, said today that the agency's policy is not to comment on scheduling issues involving protectees. The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The vetting of people who chair major fund-raising events is primarily done by the campaign, not the Secret Service. One source who asked not to be named said the decision to scuttle the event was made before the Secret Service became involved.

In a follow-up interview, Ms. Dhaliwal said the hang-up did not involve the person whose travels were of concern. "It was a couple of the organizers. I do know they wouldn't clear them ... It has to do with the way someone got their citizenship," she said.
"Something happened. I'm a little disappointed," another organizer, Randeep Dhillon, said. "We are good friends of Hillary."
Mr. Dhillon said half a million dollars had already been raised and there were hopes for another half million by Sunday. The funds already gathered will be refunded, he said.
"It was something the [Clinton Campaign] committee decided for security reasons," he said.
Mr. Dhillon said the Clintons were also passing up a chance to appear in front of as many as 75,000 Sikhs who were expected to gather in Bakersfield on Sunday to celebrate a religious festival.
There is no public evidence at this point of any impropriety involving the fund-raising for the event. However, it's possible that Mrs. Clinton feared another round of negative press similar to the stir created after her campaign raised large donations in New York's Chinatown from cooks, dishwashers, and others who appeared to be of modest means. Some of those donations have been refunded.
The Clintons have deep ties to the Indian community and have made an aggressive effort to win the group's financial support.
Canceling, or postponing, the event days before it was to happen could upset some Sikhs. Mrs. Clinton's challenge will be to convince the community that no snub was intended and that whatever security issue arose was so grave that it merited her pulling out of the event altogether.

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