by John McCormick
On a day Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign announced it was returning $850,000 tied to a Democratic fundraiser under federal investigation, former President Bill Clinton helped raise at least $125,000 for his wife in Chicago.
About 600 donors gathered this evening to hear Clinton speak at the SushiSamba restaurant in the River North neighborhood. The event was closed to the media.
Admission to the sold-out event ranged from $100 to $1,000, with those at the top end invited to spend some time with Clinton in a private VIP room.
Sen. Clinton has made a greater effort in recent months to try to raise money from the Chicago area, a region she largely ceded to Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois during the first part of the year.
Clinton's campaign, meanwhile, said Monday it would return donations raised by fundraiser Norman Hsu, who is under federal investigation for allegedly violating election laws.
Previously, her campaign had said it had only planned to give to charity $23,000 she received from Hsu for her presidential and senatorial campaigns and to her political action committee, HillPac.
The FBI is investigating whether Hsu paid so-called straw donors to send campaign contributions to Clinton and other candidates, a law enforcement official said Monday.
On his arrival, Clinton told reporters that he did not know anything about the Hsu matter.
Clinton said there is no reason to be shy about raising money in Chicago, even if it is Obama's home.
"Hillary has a lot of supporters here," he said. "We ought to give them a chance to support her. That's all we are doing."
Also in attendance was Jay Robert "J.B." Pritzker, who is helping raise money for Clinton, even though his sister, Penny Pritzker, is Obama's national finance chair.
The former president was in Chicago just a few days ago, when he signed copies of his new book at a downtown store on Friday and spoke to an entrepreneur conference.
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.