"Late in the day on Thursday, Dinesh D’Souza, the right-wing author, pundit and filmmaker, was indicted in New York on charges of campaign fraud. According to the feds, D’Souza had knowingly wiggled his way around the $5,000 individual donation limit in order to provide Wendy Long, a college friend who was running for the U.S. Senate in New York as the Republican nominee, some $20,000. His alleged method was extremely simple: He asked other friends to give Long a maximum donation of $5,000 and then reimbursed them later.
D’Souza is innocent until proven guilty, of course, but comments released on Thursday from his lawyer seemed to indicate that he won’t be putting up too strenuous of a fight. “Simply put, there was no … knowledge by the candidate that campaign finance rules may have been violated,” said D’Souza’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman. “He and the candidate have been friends since their college days,” Brafman added, “and at worst, this was an act of misguided friendship …” As even the influential right-wing blogger and law professor Ann Althouse acknowledged, Brafman’s statement “looks pretty much like a confession that D’Souza committed the criminal acts.”
D’Souza was charged with two counts — one for making illegal campaign contributions and one for lying to the FEC — and if he’s convicted for the maximum sentence for both, he could be looking at seven years in prison. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t speak to the likelihood of such an outcome. I only bring up the potential incarceration time to emphasize the seriousness of D’Souza’s alleged transgression. This isn’t jaywalking, or talking on a mobile phone while driving on the freeway.
As bad as this latest news is for D’Souza, the unfortunate reality for the former Reagan administration policy analyst is that this entanglement with law enforcement is merely the latest in a long line of recent public failures. After spending much of the 1990s enjoying the financial and social benefits of being embraced by America’s right-wing ecosystem — writing in conservative magazines, speaking at conservative events, taking positions within conservative think tanks, and selling lots of books about conservatism (and the evils of liberalism) to conservative audiences — D’Souza’s had a rougher go of it in the aughts."