Federal agents will arrest outspoken political commentator Dinesh D’Souza in New York City on Friday over allegations that his donations to a failed U.S. Senate candidate exceeded campaign-finance limits.
Investigators have built their indictment against D’Souza — a prolific, best-selling conservative author and, recently, a filmmaker — based on claims that he covertly donated $20,000 to the 2012 U.S. Senate campaign of New York Republican Wendy Long, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The indictment claims that D’Souza, 52, deceptively used straw donors to donate the funds, and misreported the source of the campaign cash.
Long lost the 2012 Senate election by a landslide margin of 44 percent. She only raised about $785,000 and never presented a remotely serious challenge to her Democratic opponent, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
D’Souza and Long have been friends for decades since they were both students at Dartmouth College in the 1980s. Long, a successful attorney, is not implicated in — or even mentioned in — the indictment.
D’Souza’s 2012 documentary, “2016: Obama’s America,” strongly criticizes the president’s policies and suggests that anti-colonial rage influences his presidential decisions. In the film, D’Souza also travels to Africa to interview Obama’s half brother, George Obama (who mildly reproaches his more successful sibling).
Gerald Molen, the Academy Award-winning producer who funded D’Souza’s documentary, asserted that the charges against D’Souza are politically motivated.
“When American citizens begin to suspect that people are being arrested for alleged minor violations because of their vocal dissent against their elected representatives or rulers, it breeds disrespect and contempt for the law and suspicion of those officials,” he told the Reporter.
Molen, a co-producer of Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List,” added that D’Souza has been targeted for “an alleged minor violation.” He compared the indictment to the Internal Revenue Service’s harassment and targeting of conservative tea party groups.
“In light of the 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,” he said.
“2016: Obama’s America” was a surprise box-office smash, raking in $33 million in revenue.
The documentary is currently the second-most-popular political documentary in American history behind “Farenheit 9/11,” a 2004 movie by leftist documentarian Michael Moore which thrashes the foreign policy of Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush.
Bush administration officials never indicted Moore.
The investigation into D’Souza’s campaign donations has been ongoing for months. He faces a maximum of seven years in prison if he is found guilty, notes The Washington Times.
Under federal election laws, individuals may only give up to $2,500 to any single candidate’s primary and general election campaign.
D’Souza traveled to New York City this week, apparently for the express purpose of turning himself in. He had been in San Diego working on another movie entitled “America,” and a corresponding book of the same name.
The film portion is being produced by Molen and another Oscar winner, Gray Frederickson, who has co-produced some of America’s greatest cinema including “The Godfather,” “The Godfather Part II” and “Apocalypse Now.”
D’Souza’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said in a statement that D’Souza “did not act with any corrupt or criminal intent whatsoever.” At worst, the famed criminal defense attorney suggested, “this was an act of misguided friendship.”