Dinesh D’Souza, the race-baiting conservative commentator and director of the fear-mongering hit “documentary” 2016: Obama’s America, was indicted on Thursday for violating campaign-finance laws. D’Souza allegedly urged people to donate $20,000 to an unnamed 2012 Senate candidate (almost certainly Wendy Long, who failed miserably to unseat New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand), and then paid them back. Such arrangements are illegal.
D’Souza and Long (née Stone) are longtime friends dating back to their days as students at Dartmouth, where they helped launch a conservative newspaper, the Dartmouth Review, “that routinely courted controversy by mocking black, gay, Jewish and female students.” (The pair were forced to apologize when someone inserted a quote from Hitler’s Mein Kampf into the paper’s “statement of principles.”)
Now he’s charged with making illegal donations, thus causing the campaign to file false documents to the FEC, charges that together carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. And the alleged wheeling and dealing was for naught: Gillibrand won over 70 percent of the vote anyway.
Once a leading influential figure on the right, D’Souza is a best-selling author and previously served as president of the evangelical King’s College in Manhattan. But it all began unraveling when he showed up to a speech at a Baptist church with a younger woman he introduced as his fiancée (not his wife Dixie, who also contributed $5,000 to Long’s campaign).
He was forced to resign from his King’s College gig, but delivered a classic George Costanza plea of ignorance along they way. “The thing I will admit: I did not have any idea that it is seen as wrong in Christian circles to be engaged prior to being divorced even though separated,” he said. “That was a true error of judgment, but it was truly a case where I didn’t know better.”
Recently, he appeared in an infomercial for an artificial Christmas tree:
In his only comment so far on the indictment, D’Souza tweeted last night:
“Mr. D’Souza did not act with any corrupt or criminal intent whatsoever,” said his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, in the linked article. “He and the candidate have been friends since their college days, and at most, this was an act of misguided friendship by D’Souza.” So basically, he’s going to try the Costanza defense again.
This post has been updated throughout.