Dinesh D’Souza pleads guilty to campaign finance violation

posted at 11:21 am on May 20, 2014 by Allahpundit

He was indicted back in January for making “straw donations” to former GOP Senate candidate Wendy Long, pleaded not guilty, and insisted he was innocent to reporters who asked. His trial was set to begin today.

Time for a last-minute plea bargain.

Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza pleaded guilty Tuesday to using “straw donors” to make excessive contributions to a U.S. Senate candidate in the 2012 election…

“Mr. D’Souza agreed to accept responsibility for having urged two close associates to make contributions of $10,000 each to the unsuccessful 2012 Senate campaign of Wendy Long and then reimbursing them for their contributions,” his attorney Benjamin Brafman said in a statement Tuesday…

Brafman called D’Souza a “fundamentally honorable man who should not be imprisoned for what was an isolated instance of wrongdoing in an otherwise productive and responsible life.”

He was initially charged with two counts, one for violating campaign finance law and the other for lying to the FEC, but the second will presumably be dropped now. The innocence talk aside, I don’t know if he ever had a legal defense. Ed was skeptical too when he blogged about this four months ago. D’Souza’s lawyer never denied that he had made the straw donations; his “defense” was that D’Souza was simply trying to help out Long, an old classmate from college, and that he had perhaps acted out of “misguided friendship” but certainly not “with any corrupt or criminal intent whatsoever.” Since the whole point of using straw donors is to skirt federal contribution limits, I’m … not sure how he could have lacked criminal intent. But that was their story. Until today.

So, yeah, I don’t think D’Souza ever intended to go to trial. I think his strategy was a political, not legal, one: By complaining loudly in the media that he was being unfairly targeted by the DOJ because he’s a prominent critic of their boss, he hoped to turn up the heat to the point where they’d decide that a ticky-tack violation like this one wasn’t worth the grief and would drop the case. Now that the day of the trial’s arrived, he realized that that strategy wouldn’t work and finally gave up — and yet still got a deal from them, despite the seemingly open-and-shut nature of the case. Maybe that media campaign paid off after all. And in fairness to the guy, it’s perfectly possible to believe (a) that he’s guilty and (b) that he was unfairly targeted anyway, given how rare prosecutions of campaign finance violations are and how ludicrously high his bail was set. They wanted to make an example of him, and he made it easy.

Which brings us to our exit question, one that Ed asked back in January but which has gone unanswered: Given the myriad ways people can shovel money at candidates these days, from bundling to Super PAC “dark money,” why would D’Souza have tried something as ham-handed as straw donors? If he was intent on wasting tens of thousands of dollars on a doomed Republican campaign in deep-blue New York, he could have just started a PAC and been perfectly safe. What a weird case.

Update: D’Souza had filed a motion to dismiss the charges alleging selective prosecution by the DOJ. When he lost on that motion last week, he was effectively out of options.


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Shouldn’t these laws just be ignored???…

PatriotRider on May 20, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Which brings us to our exit question, one that Ed asked back in January but which has gone unanswered: Given the myriad ways people can shovel money at candidates these days, from bundling to Super PAC “dark money,” why would D’Souza have tried something as ham-handed as straw donors? If he was intent on wasting tens of thousands of dollars on a doomed Republican campaign in deep-blue New York, he could have just started a PAC and been perfectly safe. What a weird case.

I still like him, but this was bizarre to say the least.

Bitter Clinger on May 20, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Shouldn’t these laws just be ignored???…

PatriotRider on May 20, 2014 at 11:24 AM

If you’re a Democrat.

Bitter Clinger on May 20, 2014 at 11:27 AM

And in fairness to the guy, it’s perfectly possible to believe (a) that he’s guilty and (b) that he was unfairly targeted anyway, given how rare prosecutions of campaign finance violations are and how ludicrously high his bail was set.

Given the myriad ways people can shovel money at candidates these days, from bundling to Super PAC “dark money,” why would D’Souza have tried something as ham-handed as straw donors?

I think you answered your own question. He probably thought he would never be prosecuted. Which is incredibly naive. By now, I would hope that everyone to the right of Castro who dares to publicly criticize Obama(and in a hit documentary in D’Souza’s case!) understands that the entire bureaucracy will be used against them(even if it’s done illegally) in order to shut them up or make it so cost-prohibitive to speak out that they voluntarily keep quiet.

Doughboy on May 20, 2014 at 11:27 AM

I lost respect for Dinesh after he left his wife of many years for the tarty looking bimbo.
Nothing surprises me about him anymore.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 20, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Resume enhancer! O Wait… conservative, means the book will be thrown at him/her.

watertown on May 20, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Dear Leader didn’t like the book…

d1carter on May 20, 2014 at 11:28 AM

It is now a crime to be a conservative and criticize this President.

ConstantineXI on May 20, 2014 at 11:29 AM

So disappointed in this guy. I read Illiberal Education when I was in grad school, around the same time I read Closing of the American Mind and Tenured Radicals. D’Souza he was a fresh, young voice for campus conservatism. Now he’s a train wreck.

RayinVA on May 20, 2014 at 11:30 AM

If he was intent on wasting tens of thousands of dollars on a doomed Republican campaign in deep-blue New York, he could have just started a PAC and been perfectly safe.

Establishing a PAC ain’t like opening a checking account. Has anyone walked their way through the form and instructions for IRS Form 1023? Have fun, even with the help of counsel. Unless he would expect to use the PAC in the future, maybe he thought this was the poor man’s form of a PAC. Clearly, he was in the wrong. He’s had a bad year or two. He needs to get a grip on his life.

BuckeyeSam on May 20, 2014 at 11:30 AM

It is now a crime to be a conservative and criticize this President.

ConstantineXI on May 20, 2014 at 11:29 AM

From day one when he froze all his records…

sandee on May 20, 2014 at 11:32 AM

4th of July!!!

Schadenfreude on May 20, 2014 at 11:33 AM

kids are generally off limits

nonpartisan on May 19, 2014 at 10:27 PM

Don’t pick on obama.

Schadenfreude on May 20, 2014 at 11:34 AM

D’Souza should know better.

This should not be defended.

portlandon on May 20, 2014 at 11:34 AM

You wanted to party and now it’s time to pay the fiddler for his music, and the fiddler wants his money.

Do your time and then disappear.

Bishop on May 20, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Anyone charged with a crime when hitlery’s donors were poor waiters in New York’s Chinatown.

Lee Jan on May 20, 2014 at 11:35 AM

D’Souza should know better.

Yes he should have, After his movie he should have realized that they would be scrutinizing everything he said or did…

sandee on May 20, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Don’t tug on Superman’s cape.

Mr. D on May 20, 2014 at 11:37 AM

An obviously political prosecution nonetheless; they went after him solely because he is a political opponent of the President. End of story.

MTF on May 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Leave campaign bundling to the professionals and the teams of lawyers you need to do it right.

Were there any convictions when the Obama campaign illegally opened up anonymous donations on it’s website?

gwelf on May 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

OK Holder, Lerner, its your turn.

Red Creek on May 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

…this sure does not help “our side”!

KOOLAID2 on May 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

sandee on May 20, 2014 at 11:36 AM

D’Sousa’s not a victim here.
I have 3 of his book. I used to respect him.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM

D’Souza should know better.

This should not be defended.

portlandon on May 20, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Indeed.

Too bad the Left doesn’t have similar standards for the likes of the IRS witch (already forgot her name), Obama, and Holder.

Bitter Clinger on May 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM

For D’Souza’s faults and mistakes, his voice sticking in Obama’s craw is needed.

22044 on May 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM

MTF on May 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

No-they went after him because he broke the law.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM

An obviously political prosecution nonetheless; they went after him solely because he is a political opponent of the President. End of story.

MTF on May 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Indeed.

Black Panthers can violate election laws all they want with zero consequences.

Bitter Clinger on May 20, 2014 at 11:40 AM

D’Sousa’s not a victim here.
I have 3 of his book. I used to respect him.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Yes he is. He is a victim of his own stupidity. He should have known better .

sandee on May 20, 2014 at 11:41 AM

An obviously political prosecution nonetheless; they went after him solely because he is a political opponent of the President. End of story.

MTF on May 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Probably, but what you don’t do is actually commit a crime. If they’re aiming a gun at you, don’t give them the ammo.

Doughboy on May 20, 2014 at 11:45 AM

sandee on May 20, 2014 at 11:41 AM

D’Sousa has a character problem

annoyinglittletwerp on May 20, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Hope and change became Fear and smear. Sad that Dsouza got targeted.

Raquel Pinkbullet on May 20, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Bundlers were busted trying to do this for Hillary in California 2008.

jake49 on May 20, 2014 at 11:47 AM

I see his point about selective prosecution considering nothing happened to the Chinese national making donations in others names to Obama in 08. Many had incomes only double of what they were said to have contributed. Nothing to see here, move along.

faol on May 20, 2014 at 11:47 AM

If he can stay out of jail now, he can make his next movie about Hillary Clinton.

Steve Z on May 20, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Indeed.

Too bad the Left doesn’t have similar standards for the likes of the IRS witch (already forgot her name), Obama, and Holder.

Bitter Clinger on May 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM

True.

You have to have standards to be held to them.

portlandon on May 20, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Eric Holder’s Department of Injustice.

Where is Fox News?

Raquel Pinkbullet on May 20, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Meh. When Dear Liar turns off credit card verification for donations during his fundraising, this is child’s play.

rbj on May 20, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Shouldn’t these laws just be ignored???…

PatriotRider on May 20, 2014 at 11:24 AM

They are, under the Constitution’s ‘Connected People Clause’. But D’Souza isn’t ‘connected’ to the current occupants.

PersonFromPorlock on May 20, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Missing the point. Is what he did illegal? Sure. But the bigger point is this; you can be guilty- and still be right. (Ask any number of historical figures if that is true.)

Should the government have that law in place? Does the government selectively enforce it? I’m curious if when a Republican gets back in and publicly announces he is going to follow Obama’s behavior and just not give a flying “F” if it is against the law or not, if it serves his interest, if the public or the press will react? And who cares? What difference does it make?

The difference between the old days and now is the elites don’t care if you know. They used to make the effort to do things behind closed doors and act just as shocked as anyone when it came out.

Now it is the in your face “whatcha gonna do about it?!” Chicago gang style politics.

If he had gone to court, he would have lost. He did it. But now the question is the abuse of the system in sentencing. Making it political makes it harder to jail him. Especially if there are dozens of similar cases where the democrat donor got off.

archer52 on May 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM

It is obvious what this is. El Presidente and his thugs are punishing those that dared to speak the truth. The time is coming when we the people will have to correct the situation.

Raquel Pinkbullet on May 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Anyone charged with a crime when hitlery’s donors were poor waiters in New York’s Chinatown.

Lee Jan on May 20, 2014 at 11:35 AM

They had so many irregularities, the FEC just gave up…..must have spent at least 10-minutes investigating the Clintons’.

tomshup on May 20, 2014 at 11:57 AM

brainfree was right. Our justice system has it in for people of color.

gwelf on May 20, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Another “fundamentally honorable” man doing something fundamentally dishonorable. Dumb.

scalleywag on May 20, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Maybe he’ll be humbled by this.
But likely not.

“an isolated instance of wrongdoing in an otherwise productive and responsible life.”

Productive, yes.
Responsible?
He’s generally always let his animus towards others guide his actions. And that has often made him far less then a responsible person. Or a decent one.
Maybe this is the start of his apology tour.
He can start all the way back at his Dartmouth days.

verbaluce on May 20, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Maybe he’ll be humbled by this.
But likely not.

“an isolated instance of wrongdoing in an otherwise productive and responsible life.”

Productive, yes.
Responsible?
He’s generally always let his animus towards others guide his actions. And that has often made him far less then a responsible person. Or a decent one.
Maybe this is the start of his apology tour.
He can start all the way back at his Dartmouth days.

verbaluce on May 20, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Uh, Obama went to Harvard, not Dartmouth.

Otherwise, spot on.

Bitter Clinger on May 20, 2014 at 12:12 PM

There are no heroes anymore.

HiJack on May 20, 2014 at 12:20 PM

You guys have to stop being gullible suckers for every two-bit criminal huckster who preys on your Obama hate.

everdiso on May 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM

I do like his, ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’! /

celtic warrior on May 20, 2014 at 12:25 PM

No-they went after him because he broke the law.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Which law? One that protects obaka, or one that obaka and holder refuse to enforce?

ladyingray on May 20, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Productive, yes.
Responsible?
He’s generally always let his animus towards others guide his actions. And that has often made him far less then a responsible person. Or a decent one.
Maybe this is the start of his apology tour.
He can start all the way back at his Dartmouth days.

verbaluce on May 20, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Haha…you are such a psychopath.

Responsible? You have no idea what that term means. You children on the left cannot even pay for your own healthcare, and avoid paying your taxes at every opportunity. You commit crimes at an obscenely disproportional rate to anyone on the right.

You are truly the lowest examples of humanity, but feel free to lecture on your paper-thin soapbox.

ClassicCon on May 20, 2014 at 12:29 PM

No-they went after him because he broke the law.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Laws that don’t seem to be enforced on Democratics?

slickwillie2001 on May 20, 2014 at 12:30 PM

You guys have to stop being gullible suckers for every two-bit criminal huckster who preys on your Obama hate.

everdiso on May 20, 2014 at 12:24 PM

It is cute how you little pvssies are never around for the avalanche of leftist crimes. Born spineless.

Every real American is a criminal to you thugs.

ClassicCon on May 20, 2014 at 12:32 PM

He used to be the wunderkind of HA threads…. oh the terrible fall from grace. Guess his supporters can sympathize with Charlie Rangel fans for the disappointment factor……..

Bradky on May 20, 2014 at 12:33 PM

D’Souza – Bundy 2016!! “Cause we should be able to pick the laws we have to follow!”

Bradky on May 20, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Bradky on May 20, 2014 at 12:33 PM

cardianl sin, huh?
Nah..he needs to move on…pay the fine and do the time…and go back to the movie making. was an error in judgement and seems like he did it with his panties for a lady in his past. suppose the guys on this blog have never been there? (or maybe a few of the ladies, too)

gracie on May 20, 2014 at 12:39 PM

cardianl sin, huh?

typo alert
cardinal sin, huh?

gracie on May 20, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Bitter Clinger on May 20, 2014 at 12:12 PM

If I were running for office and you were my opponent, I would probably stutter every speech from fear.

Very nicely done.

platypus on May 20, 2014 at 12:41 PM

And what ever happened to Charlie Tre of Arkansas William Jefferson Bly Clinton fame? You know the $3.5M (foreign) campaign contribution via the PRC? I noticed someone earlier remarking about Killery in her (carpetbagger) senate seat run from NY getting several hundred kilobuck$ from the waiters & busboys of NY Chinatown? Hummm.
Just like that commiefraud, stain on the faculty of Chicago, and political counselor to President Downgrade Obamugabe, Bill Ayers who said correctly: “Guilty as hell, free as a bird.”
Some animals (Gimmedats) are better than other animals (the rest of us).

Missilengr on May 20, 2014 at 12:50 PM

ClassicCon on May 20, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Unhinged, enraged hyperbole will get you nowhere.
You should learn from D’Souza how to mask it by presenting it as scholarly reflection.

verbaluce on May 20, 2014 at 12:54 PM

D’Souza seems to bring the trolls out of the Canadian and gay mafia woodwork. How does that work, some kind of Google alert? Media Slanders hotline? JournoList?

slickwillie2001 on May 20, 2014 at 12:58 PM

annoyinglittletwerp on May 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM

The Justice Department couldn’t care less that he broke campaign donation law, except to say his violation offers them a chance to punish an opponent of the President. When one considers how frequently campaign donation laws were broken, and deliberately so, by Democrats in Obama’s campaign and no prosecutions happened its obvious whom they like to go after, and why.

MTF on May 20, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Here’s one example. After the 2008 campaign it came to light the Obama campaign solicited and accepted foreign donations via credit card. They disclaimed responsibility but promised never to do it again, but, like everything else in Obamaworld, they lied.

D’Souza is going to jail for one reason only- he made a film highly critical of the President. I defy you to find one more example of this so-called “crime” ever prosecuted this way.

MTF on May 20, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Another “fundamentally honorable” man doing something fundamentally dishonorable. Dumb.

scalleywag on May 20, 2014 at 11:58 AM

What a joke. “Dishonorable”? He broke a campaign finance rule Democrats routinely ignore in support if a friend who had little chance of winning. If you think breaking a law is “dishonorable” do me a favor and stay off theNew Jersey turnpike , because someone going 65 is a safety hazard.

MTF on May 20, 2014 at 1:14 PM

sandee on May 20, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Like it.

As for annoyinglittletwerp, well named.

Chuck Ef on May 20, 2014 at 1:24 PM

A good friend is a good friend of D’Souza, who sounds like a brilliant, kind man who does not always use the best judgment.

Targeted? Absolutely.

LASue on May 20, 2014 at 1:32 PM

From The Obama Timeline:

It is worth noting that a 2004 John Edwards donor was charged with a mere misdemeanor for the same crime. It is also worth noting that Obama’s closest advisor, Valerie Jarrett said in 2012, “After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time. Everyone not with us is against us and they [had] better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve. There is going to be hell to pay.”

Colony14 on May 20, 2014 at 1:33 PM

D’Souza seems to bring the trolls out of the Canadian and gay mafia woodwork. How does that work, some kind of Google alert? Media Slanders hotline? JournoList?

slickwillie2001 on May 20, 2014 at 12:58 PM

For sure.

22044 on May 20, 2014 at 1:38 PM

He could use this as the premise for his next movie.

Kissmygrits on May 20, 2014 at 1:45 PM

D’Souza’s Probation 2016

Eva D. Struktion on May 20, 2014 at 1:49 PM

it’s perfectly possible to believe (a) that he’s guilty and (b) that he was unfairly targeted anyway,

Yes and yes. And it is very difficult to win on the selective prosecution argument, given the very broad nature of prosecutorial discretion.

Even as broad as the principle of prosecutorial discretion is, Obama and Holder clearly abuse it as an excuse to violate their oaths to faithfully uphold the laws. D’Souza was clearly targeted for his very damaging attacks on Obama; his problem was that he violated the law.

novaculus on May 20, 2014 at 1:59 PM

As I said in another thread, D’Souza acted foolishly by tempting the selective prosecution fates. The fact that this law exists is absurd, but it is on the books, so disregarding it invites trouble.

Now the only interesting question is “how did he get caught?” I read little about the names of the phoney-baloney straw contributors. (His mistress and her husband perhaps??? Is this just another case of a guy’s d!ck getting him into all sort of trouble?) Funny that you don’t generally these names in print. Why aren’t they facing charges? Did they drop a dime on poor ol’ Denish? I find it difficult to believe this scheme can be detected by a mere review of FEC filings.

And what’s that smell? I detect a faint aroma the Democratic political machine …

Nomennovum on May 20, 2014 at 2:00 PM

By now, I would hope that everyone to the right of Castro who dares to publicly criticize Obama(and in a hit documentary in D’Souza’s case!) understands that the entire bureaucracy will be used against them(even if it’s done illegally) in order to shut them up or make it so cost-prohibitive to speak out that they voluntarily keep quiet.

Doughboy on May 20, 2014 at 11:27 AM

It’s the Chicago Way. Obama brought the principles of thugocracy to the Potomac.

novaculus on May 20, 2014 at 2:03 PM

I’m still waiting for any Democrat to be charged for anything. I won’t hold my breath!

cajunpatriot on May 20, 2014 at 2:39 PM

D’Souza is going to jail for one reason only- he made a film highly critical of the President. I defy you to find one more example of this so-called “crime” ever prosecuted this way.

MTF on May 20, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Maybe but for that very reason he should’ve been more careful.

workingclass artist on May 20, 2014 at 5:12 PM

Maybe but for that very reason he should’ve been more careful.
workingclass artist on May 20, 2014 at 5:12 PM

Oh, I agree. He was stupid to break the law, and stupid to tempt tate this way at all. Having said that, though, I repeat myself that this is clearly a political prosecution designed to punish a political opponent of the President.

MTF on May 20, 2014 at 5:57 PM

MTF on May 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

No-they went after him because he broke the law.annoyinglittletwerp on May 20, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Yeah, a law as rational as any other thousands of which we’re liable to violate in the normal course of the day. Should I go to jail if it can be proven that I threw a cfl bulb in the garbage every time they crap out?

AH_C on May 20, 2014 at 9:18 PM

AH_C on May 20, 2014 at 9:18 PM

Apples to pickups.
I used to like D’Sousa. I was a fan if you will-but he seems to have devolved character issues.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 20, 2014 at 9:41 PM

I feel as if a very reliable, intelligent force on the Right has severely tarnished and discredited himself. I’m actually quite upset about this.

braden on May 21, 2014 at 12:42 AM

I lost respect for Dinesh after he left his wife of many years for the tarty looking bimbo.
Nothing surprises me about him anymore.
annoyinglittletwerp on May 20, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Maybe he was just born that way. You’re not one of those marriage bigots are you?

Nutstuyu on May 21, 2014 at 10:12 AM