Dinesh D’Souza, a controversial political commentator, author and former president of King’s College, was indicted today by a grand jury for alleged campaign finance fraud, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office announced this evening.
According to the office, Mr. D’Souza, 52, is charged “with violating the federal campaign finance laws by making illegal contributions to a United States Senate campaign in the names of others and causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission in connection with those contributions.”
According to a complaint, Mr. D’Souza contributed $20,000 to a New York Senate candidate’s campaign—five times the legal limit—by using straw donors, whom he later reimbursed.
FEC campaign finance records show Mr. D’Souza made two $2,500 contributions to long-shot Republican New York U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long in March 2012—the maximum allowed. Mr. D’Souza’s wife at the time, Dixie D’Souza, also gave $5,000 that March, records show. Ms. Long was handily defeated in the general election by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand.
The candidate in question was unaware of Mr. D’Souza’s allegedly illicit activities, the indictment says.
The indictment is just the latest by Mr. Bharara, who has gone after political corruption aggressively in recent months. “As we have long said, this office and the F.B.I. take a zero-tolerance approach to corruption of the electoral process. If, as alleged, the defendant directed others to make contributions to a Senate campaign and reimbursed them, that is a serious violation of federal campaign finance laws,” he said.
Mr. D’Souza is a well-known conservative commentator and best-selling author who was forced to step down as president of the Christian King’s College in October of 2012 after reports surfaced that he had checked into a hotel with a woman he introduced as his fiancée, even though he was married to another woman, according to reports at the time. He most recently drew fire when he called President Barack Obama a “grown-up Trayvon” on Twitter.
Mr. D’Souza did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, issued a statement that said, “at worst this was an act of misguided friendship by D’Souza.”
“It is important to note that the Indictment does not allege a corrupt relationship between Mr. D’Souza and the candidate,” Mr. Brafman said. “There was never a corrupt agreement of any kind, nor was there any request made that the candidate take any action or refrain from taking any action as a candidate, or as a US Senator if her political campaign were to have been successful. Simply put, there was no ‘quid pro quo’ in this case, nor was there even any knowledge by the candidate that Campaign Finance Rules may have been violated. Mr. D’Souza did not act with any corrupt or criminal intent whatsoever. He and the candidate have been friends since their college days, and at worst, this was an act of misguided friendship by D’Souza.”
View the indictment below.