Dinesh D'Souza, best known for his controversial film 2016: Obama's America, has recently been indicted on the charge that he used straw donors in to gain illegal funding for a 2012 Senate Campaign. He is also charged with "causing false statements to be made" regarding the contributions.
Manhattan federal prosecutors claim D'Souza encouraged others to donate $20,000 to the said campaign and reimbursed them for the donations. This is an act prohibited by the election law as the cap for any one donor to a particular candidate is $5,000.
The candidate who received the funds was not indicated on the indictment. However, prosecutors additionally charged D'Souza with causing the candidate to file false campaign documents.
D'Souza's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, issued a statement saying, "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 most, this was an act of misguided friendship by D'Souza."
The only record of D'Souza's giving was to Wendy Long--a Republican representing New York. He donated $5,000 to her campaign to gain Hillary Clinton's Senate seat which she lost to Democratic Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand. D'Souza and Long attended Dartmouth College where they worked together on The Dartmouth Review, a conservative university newspaper.
During the 2012 Campaign, D'Souza hosted one of Wendy Long's fundraisers. Altogether, she raised approximately $785,000, an accumulation of "relatively small donations." The case is said to be the result of a routine review by the FBI reviewing campaign filings of various candidates in the senatorial race. On Friday, January 24th, D'Souza pled not guilty to the federal charges.
The Hollywood Reporter stated that the conservative author and filmmaker was aware he was being investigated by the IRS halfway into 2013 after his surprised box office hit, 2016, ranked in about $33 million. The film has gained the title of the number two most popular political documentary in the nation's history.
Gerald Molen, co-producer of "2016" told The Hollywood Reporter "In America, we have a long tradition of not doing what is commonly done in too many other countries--criminalizing dissent through the selective enforcement of the law" such as the similar IRS actions seen recently against various Tea Party and other conservative groups in America. Molen believes the charges are motivated by D'Souza's anti-Obama stances. He went on to say, D'Souza is being singled over "an alleged minor violation. In light of recent events and 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, a San Diego resident, was there working on his latest film and book project, America, when he learned of the indictment. America will be released on July 4th, also co-produced by Molen as well as Gray Frederickson and directed by John Sullivan. D'Souza still plans to release the projects on time.
The full indictment can be read at Politicker.