President Trump made a bombshell announcement on Thursday that drew cheers from across the conservative spectrum. Trump said he was issuing a pardon to Dinesh D’Souza, the prominent pundit, writer, and filmmaker who was railroaded by the Obama administration over an illegal campaign contribution in 2014. The president announced the pardon on Twitter, insisting that D’Souza was “treated very unfairly by our government.”
D’Souza ultimately pleaded guilty in 2014 to giving money back to two of his colleagues after they contributed $10,000 a piece to 2012 Senate candidate Wendy Long. Though D’Souza admitted to knowing that he was breaking the law at the time by contributing more than the $5,000 limit, many conservatives have complained that he was prosecuted on charges that rarely attract significant federal attention.
“Dinesh D’Souza attempted to illegally contribute over $10,000 to a Senate campaign, willfully undermining the integrity of the campaign finance process,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at the time of his conviction. “Like many others before him, of all political stripes, he has had to answer for this crime – here with a felony conviction.”
But it was hard for observers on the right to believe that the prosecution was not a form of political retaliation from the Obama administration, which had been a target of D’Souza’s documentary films.
D’Souza was sentenced to community service and a five-year probation stint, weekly counseling, and forced to pay a $30,000 fine for his over-contribution.
It’s impossible, only weeks after it was revealed that celebrity Rosie O’Donnell over-contributed to several Democrats in the past year, not to compare the cases. Or it would be, except that there IS no case in Rosie’s instance. She merely played the ignorance card, blamed the politicians and the funding sites for accepting the donations, and life went on. She got a couple of days of bad publicity, not a federal prosecution. And that’s despite having a decided personal enemy in the White House.
That’s because Trump, unlike his predecessor, isn’t using the Justice Department to settle scores or his position as president to bully liberals into submission. He takes a lot of heat for the way he talks, his insults on Twitter, and his general “bullying” manner at rallies around the country. But there’s a huge difference between making fun of someone on social media and using the Justice Department to exact revenge. That was Obama’s game, and it’s why Trump’s pardon of D’Souza sends a powerful message: No longer will the government’s law enforcement agencies be used in service of a political agenda.
“Bravo! @realDonaldTrump,” wrote Sen. Ted Cruz. “Dinesh was the subject of a political prosecution, brazenly targeted by the Obama administration bc of his political views. And he’s a powerful voice for freedom, systematically dismantling the lies of the Left—which is why they hate him. This is Justice.”
Amen. Good to have it back.