While Dinesh D’Souza makes the rounds of the right wing media spinning a tale of persecution, the New York Times reports that the government has pretty much definitive proof that he knew that he was breaking the law when he paid others to make campaign contributions to a Senate candidate in 2012. And it also involves that now-infamous adultery scandal he got caught up in at almost exactly the same time.
You may recall that in October, 2012 it came out that D’Souza had shared a hotel room at a Christian conference called Truth for a New Generation with a woman named Denise Joseph while both of them were still married (separated, apparently, but not divorced). When a Christian magazine broke that story, it led to D’Souza being fired from his job as president of King’s College. That conference took place about a month after the campaign contributions that have landed him in court on federal criminal charges.
Part of his defense for what he did was that he and his wife had been separated for a long time, with her living on the west coast and him on the east coast, but that apparently didn’t stop him from pretending that he was making a campaign contribution in her name as well as his:
The government, in its papers, asked that the judge, Richard M. Berman, allow it to introduce evidence that it says showed that Mr. D’Souza understood campaign contribution limits and rules when he arranged for the straw donations, and that he had even considered pleading guilty.
In March 2012, the government wrote, Mr. D’Souza contributed a check for $10,000 to the Long campaign, only to be told that the donation exceeded the $5,000 individual limit.
The campaign sent him a form requiring him to specify whether the contribution was from himself or a joint contribution with his wife, the government said.
A completed form was returned to the campaign reflecting that the $10,000 contribution came from Mr. D’Souza and his wife, prosecutors wrote, but they added that Mr. D’Souza’s wife has said that she did not authorize such a contribution or even know it was being made.
“The evidence of illegality with regard to his own and his wife’s contribution,” Mr. Bharara’s office wrote, “will help prove that the defendant knew that what he was doing in August 2012 was wrong and it was not a fleeting, accidental misjudgment; it was part of a larger pattern of flouting campaign finance limits he knew existed.”
So he and his wife were estranged, so it was okay for him to sleep with another woman, but not so estranged that he couldn’t use her to get around campaign contribution limits. The fact that he was told explicitly informed of those limits and then went on not only to violate them by making a contribution in the name of his wife who had no idea it was done, but also to solicit others to donate in their own names with his reimbursement, pretty much kills any serious legal defense in the case.
Ultimately, this is going to get settled with probation and a fine, I’m sure. Unless D’Souza really wants to be stupid about it and not accept a plea deal of that type, in which case it looks to me like he’s going to go down hard.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: