President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he was giving a Presidential pardon to Dinesh D’Souza. The prominent conservative commentator was found guilty of illegally funneling money to the Senate campaign for Wendy Long in 2014.
D’Souza pleaded guilty in 2014 to reimbursing two of his associates after directly telling them to contribute $10,000 each to the campaign of Wendy Long. He also admitted that he knew what he was doing violated the law.
When D’Souza funneled the money the Federal Election Campaign Act prohibited any individual from donating more than $5,000 to a single candidate.
Following his guilty plea, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said D’Souza acted “willfully” in his attempts to donate over the federally allowed limit.
“Dinesh D’Souza attempted to illegally contribute over $10,000 to a Senate campaign, wilfully undermining the integrity of the campaign finance process,” Bharara said. “Like many others before him, of all political stripes, he has had to answer for this crime – here with a felony conviction.”
Trump fired Bharara just after taking office in 2017. The former U.S. Attorney has since become a vocal critic of Trump.
The presidential pardon sends a clear signal to the Republican Party that Donald Trump has their backs if they choose to violate campaign finance rules during the 2018 midterm elections.
An Opponent Of Hillary Clinton
The Presidential pardon isn’t exactly shocking. D’Souza released a film in 2016 titled, “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party,” in which he claimed his felony conviction was a politically motivated attack by the government in retaliation for an earlier film he produced about President Barack Obama.
D’Souza also has a history of mocking victims of tragedies, much like Donald Trump. Following the Parkland, Florida massacre he came under fire for going after the survivors of the shooting.
Following the pardon, Ted Cruz applauded the President’s decision, sending a clear signal that Republicans can get away with violating campaign finance laws with full support from the POTUS.
Trump has made it a point to stand up for ultra-conservatives who have been found guilty of various crimes. Almost immediately after taking office, the President pardoned Joe Arpaio, who had campaigned for Trump.
The POTUS also pardoned Scooter Libby, a former advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted of obstruction of justice, false statements, and perjury.
The White House has not commented on why Trump is pardoning so many individuals found guilty of politically-motivated crimes.