Some criminals are more equal than others.
Dinesh D’Souza allegedly violated campaign finance laws through a relatively small scheme to have friends donate $20,000 to Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long, who had little chance of defeating Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012. The alleged illegality was that D’Souza would reimburse them, thereby allowing him to exceed the individual campaing donation limits.
It he did it, it’s hard to excuse. He must have known about the campaign limits.
But such small-scale violations of campaign finance law often are treated as civil matters, with fines. When the Obama campaign turned off credit card security features that would prevent foreign donations, it didn’t even get a slap on the wrist.
When the Obama campaign was caught hiding over $1 million in excess donations, it merely was fined:
Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has been fined $375,000 by the Federal Election Commission for violating federal disclosure laws, Politico reports.
An FEC audit of Obama for America’s 2008 records found the committee failed to disclose millions of dollars in contributions and dragged its feet in refunding millions more in excess contributions.
The resulting fine, one of the largest ever handed down by the FEC, is the result of a failure to disclose or improperly disclosing thousands of contributions to Obama for America during the then-senator’s 2008 presidential run, documents show.
The FEC says the Obama campaign failed to disclose the sources of 1,300 large donations, which together accounted for nearly $1.9 million. Election Commission rules state campaigns must report donations of $1,000 or more within 20 days of Election Day.
Not here. Prosecutors took D’Souza’s case to a grand jury, which issued a felony indictment. D’Souza’s bail was set at $500,000 (that’s not a typo).
It’s hard to see how the criminal prosecution is not political, a result of D’Souza’s 2016: Obama’s America film. That prosecutors have the power to indict doesn’t remove the smell of politics from the case, because in simlar situations the matter is treated civilly.
This is an issue we have addressed before. What Prof. Glenn Reynolds calls Ham Sandwich Nation, where everyone has broken some law, and prosecutors get to choose who to indict.
What if Dinesh D’Souza had appeared on Meet the Press and waved around an illegal 30-round magazine to prove a point? Would he have been let off the hook like David Gregory?
Here’s the trailer for D’Souza’s latest film, due out on July 4, America: