The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York this week filed charges against Dinesh D’Souza for allegedly violating federal campaign finance laws. D’Souza is a conservative author and filmmaker well-known for his stance against the current presidential administration. Most recently D’Souza is best known for writing and directing the 2012 movie 2016: Obama’s America, a documentary that follows the early life of Barack Obama.
D’Souza is accused of having several other people make donations to a U.S. Senate campaign, then later reimbursing them for the contributions, which totaled $20,000. The act circumvents election laws that prevent individuals from donating over $5,000 to a single candidate. He has also been charged with causing false statements to be made to the FEC. That charge stems from the donation scheme by proxy causing the campaign committee to falsely report donations to the FEC.
“Trying to influence elections through bogus campaign contributions is a serious crime,” said George Venizelos, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI. “Today, Mr. D’Souza finds himself on the wrong side of the law. The Federal Election Campaign Act was written to limit the influence of money in elections; the FBI is fiercely committed to enforcing those laws to maintain the integrity of our democratic process.”
D’Souza’s donation’s were uncovered by the FBI during a review of 2012 campaign committee filings.
According to TPM, D’Souza’s lawyer has issued a statement emphasizing that D’Souza never had a “corrupt relationship” with the Senate candidate. The lawyer also stated that D’Souza “did not act with any corrupt or criminal intent whatsoever.”
“As we have long said, this Office and the FBI take a zero tolerance approach to corruption of the electoral process,” said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for Manhattan. “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.”
Image via @DineshDSouza