In the wake of Dinesh D’Souza’s presidential pardon, the Left’s hypocritical outrage has hit a new low.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) recently slammed President Trump’s “get-out-of-jail-free cards,” claiming he “doesn’t care about the rule of law.”
Dan Pfeiffer, a former Obama advisor, suggested President Trump vacated the “moral high ground” in pardoning D’Souza. The left-leaning Brennan Center, meanwhile, concluded: “The pardon power is there to be used to make sure that nobody is truly held accountable.”
These same anti-Trump liberals remain deafeningly silent when it comes to criticizing Hillary Clinton, a notoriously shady fundraiser whose family’s misconduct led to the criminalization of what D’Souza did in the first place.
The McCain-Feingold Act of 2002 targeted the kind of straw-man contributions D’Souza engaged in as a direct response to certain Democratic Party campaign finance scandals. Then-Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) offered Amendment 166, which criminalized straw-man contributions that skirt contribution limits, calling out by name the illegal contributions made to Democrats during President Clinton’s 1996 campaign.
If the Left suddenly cares about accountability, they should apply the same standard to their 2016 presidential nominee, for precisely the same actions they now condemn D’Souza for, albeit exponentially more egregious ones.
In 2012, D’Souza was prosecuted and convicted for providing several associates with money they then contributed to a candidate of his preference — in other words, straw man contributions. He was sentenced to eight months in a community confinement center and five years of probation. How much money was involved? $20,000.
The Clinton machine carried out a similar straw-man scheme in 2016 to the tune of $84 million!
Last December, the Committee to Defend the President filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), documenting “an unprecedented, massive, nationwide multi-million dollar conspiracy.” The 101-page complaint is built entirely on FEC reports filed by Democrats, memos authored by Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook, and public statements from former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman Donna Brazile and others.
According to the complaint, the Hillary Victory Fund (HVF) — the $500 million joint-fundraising committee between the Clinton campaign, the DNC and dozens of state parties — solicited six-figure contributions from Democratic mega-donors, and routed them through state parties en route to the DNC and then the Clinton campaign.
The Supreme Court’s 2014 McCutcheon v. FEC ruling, while striking other campaign finance limits, made clear joint fundraising committees cannot solicit or accept contributions through “earmarks” and “straw men” to circumvent base limits and take in donations that are ultimately excessive. But that is exactly what the HVF did, when, as Donna Brazile admitted, the DNC placed the funds under the Clinton campaign’s direct control.
Clinton’s $84 million scheme amounts to the largest campaign finance scandal in U.S. history, involving 4,000 times more money than D’Souza’s. While the latter was given eight months in a community confinement center and five years of probation, the former continues to escape accountability … and the Left’s wrath.
Until the anti-Trump Left holds their own accountable to the law, their D’Souza rhetoric is nothing but hypocritical political grandstanding.
Dan Backer is a veteran campaign counsel, having served more than 100 candidates, PACs and political organizations, including the Committee to Defend the President. He is founding attorney of political.law.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.