Dinesh D’Souza Pleads Not Guilty to Campaign Fraud Charges; Conservatives Call Out Obama Admin for Targeting Critics
Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza pleaded not guilty on Friday to federal charges that he used straw donors to exceed campaign contributions to a U.S. Senate candidate in 2012. Meanwhile, the charges against the co-producer of “2016: Obama’s America” are being seen by conservatives as evidence that the White House is targeting its critics.
“The Feds have chosen to pursue this alleged minor violation in the same way the IRS targeted conservative Tea Party groups for retribution,” Gerald R. (Jerry) Molen, who co-produced “2016” with D’Souza, said in a statement released Friday. “In light of the way the IRS has been used to stifle dissent, this arrest should send shivers down the spines of all freedom-loving Americans.”
D’Souza’s defense lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, suggested in New York federal court that the action described in D’Souza’s indictment does not rise to the level of a crime, according to Reuters. The contributions connected to D’Souza were for candidate Wendy Long, who was unsuccessful in her bid for the Senate seat of Democratic Kirsten Gillibrand in New York.
“It’s an unusual case,” Brafman told U.S. District Judge Richard Berman. “I don’t think there’s much dispute as to what happened, but why it happened and whether it violated federal election law.”
Brafman apparently tried to convince the government not to press charges but was ultimately rebuffed, Reuters reported.
D’Souza allegedly arranged for two individuals and their spouses to donate a total of $20,000 in August 2012 to Long’s campaign. Later, the campaign contributors were reimbursed by D’Souza, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen. There was a $5,000 limit for campaign donations for political candidate per race and $2,500 for general election campaigns at the time.
More on Obama’s Tall-Tales: