Best-selling conservative author, filmmaker and commentator Dinesh D’Souza has been indicted by a grand jury for alleged campaign finance fraud in 2012.
D’Souza, known for directing the derisive anti-Obama documentary 2016: Obama’s America, was charged “with violating the federal campaign finance laws by making illegal contributions to a United States Senate campaign in the names of others and causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission in connection with those contributions,” according to the office of Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Politicker notes.
The complaint claims that D’Souza encouraged others to donate $20,000 to a 2012 Senate candidate and later reimbursed them. That means that D’Souza effectively donated five times the legal limit through the use of these straw donors.
According to Politicker, FEC campaign finance records showed that D’Souza had already contributed $5,000 (the maximum allowed) to Republican candidate Wendy Long, who was running for the New York seat that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, eventually won. His wife, Dixie D’Souza, also contributed $5,000 to Long’s ill-fated campaign.
According to the indictment, Long was unaware of these activities.
“As we have long said, this office and the FBI take a zero-tolerance approach to corruption of the electoral process. If, as alleged, the defendant directed others to make contributions to a Senate campaign and reimbursed them, that is a serious violation of federal campaign finance laws,” said Bharara, who has tasked himself with going after political corruption.
D’Souza was forced to step down from his position as president of Christian King’s College in October 2012 after news broke that he had checked into a hotel with a woman he said was his fiancee, despite the fact that he was already married to someone else. Back in November of last year, he drew more fire after he sent out a tweet calling Obama “Grown-Up Trayvon.”
His attorney, Benjamin Brafman, issued a statement regarding the recent allegations, saying that “at worst this was an act of misguided friendship by D’Souza,” Politicker notes.
“It is important to note that the indictment does not allege a corrupt relationship between Mr. D’Souza and the candidate,” Brafman said. “There was never a corrupt agreement of any kind; nor was there any request made that the candidate take any action or refrain from taking any action as a candidate, or as a U.S. senator if her political campaign were to have been successful. Simply put, there was no ‘quid pro quo’ in this case; nor was there even any knowledge by the candidate that campaign finance rules may have been violated. Mr. D’Souza did not act with any corrupt or criminal intent whatsoever. He and the candidate have been friends since their college days, and at worst, this was an act of misguided friendship by D’Souza.”
Read more at Politicker.