‘It is payback from the DOJ’…’This is worse than people can imagine’
(Tea Party) – Revenge is the motive say dozens of conservatives in response to the Obama administration’s criminal indictment against Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative filmmaker well-known for criticizing and exposing the president in his hit documentary, “2016: Obama’s America.” Liberals are chalking the revenge theory up to a right-wing conspiracy.
D’Souza’s “2016: Obama’s America” was a box office sensation, reaping more than $33 million, it was the highest grossing documentary of all time. D’Souza’s latest film, “America” is set for release in theaters this coming July 4.
D’Souza is not the only one under fire. Recently the Obama administration has pursued several high-profile conservatives in its latest round of targeting. They include former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife. The couple was indicted after they purportedly received loans and gifts from a political donor. In another move, the IRS is going after a group of Hollywood conservatives called Friends of Abe. In what was one of the largest scandals to hit Washington more recently, the IRS came under fire recently for improperly targeting the Tea Party.
A federal grand jury has indicted D’Souza on two felony counts for allegedly violating campaign finance laws. D’Souza was also charged with making false statements to the Federal Election Commission as well as contributing $15,000 to a candidate for the US Senate, illegally. If found guilty D’Souza could face up to 7 years in prison.
Cleta Mitchell, a high-profile attorney specializing in campaign finance said, “The decision to prosecute – or not prosecute – is always a matter of discretion. It was the prosecutor’s decision – indeed DOJ’s decision – not to prosecute widespread conduit contributions to the John Edwards campaign in 2008. Contrast that with this prosecution, which involved $15,000 (not $20,000 as claimed).”
When asked by WND if she believes D’Souza’s indictment was politically motivated, Mitchell responded, “Do I think this is politically motivated? I think if a Republican appointee had done this, the press corps would be going ballistic. Just consider how outraged they were when Bush asked for and received resignations of all U.S. attorney appointees at the start of his second term, something that is customary. Imagine if his appointee had gone after a George Soros friend. Imagine the outrage.”
In an interesting comparison, prominent Hollywood attorney and Democrat Pierce O’Donnell admitted to asking 10 people each to donate $2,000 to John Edwards presidential run. O’Donnell reimbursed the donors. He was indicted on three felony charges in 2008.
In 2011, Politico reported. “The judge struck two of those charges in his ruling and later dismissed one at the request of prosecutors. With only misdemeanors on his record, O’Donnell could regain his law license, which was suspended after the charges were filed.”
In O’Donnell’s case he would only serve 60 days in prison, contribute 500 hours of community service and pay a $20,000 fine.
In 2003, Sam Dealy reported in an article in The Hill, “Sen. John Edwards’ presidential campaign finance documents show a pattern of giving by low-level employees at law firms, a number of whom appear to have limited financial resources and no prior record of political donations. … In many instances, all the checks from a given firm arrived on the same day – from partners, attorneys, and other support staff.”
Each of those people gave $2,000 each, the maximum contribution. The contributions also came from spouses, relatives of staffers and even some people who had been financially distressed or who filed bankruptcy.
Continued Dealy, “In the three-month financial reporting period ended March 31, the Edwards campaign reported raising more than $7.4 million, the vast majority from individual contributors. Records show that nearly two-thirds of these contributions came from persons connected with law firms.”
In similar cases in 2013, William Danielczyk a Virginia businessman, was sentenced to more than two years in prison. He was fined more than $50,000 for reimbursing straw donors who had contributed to Hillary Clinton’s 2006 Senate and 2008 presidential bid for a total of $186,000.
In that same year, Florida developer Jay Odom admitted to using straw donors to donate more than $23,000 illegally to former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign in 2008. Odom was ordered to pay a $46,000 fine and was sentenced to six months in the federal prison. He pleaded guilty to one count of causing the presidential campaign committee to make a false statement to the Federal Election Committee.
The judge handling the Odom case “noted with some frustration that several people who had written letters to him on Odom’s behalf said they found ‘nothing wrong’ with what he had done and stated ‘everybody does it.’”
Gerard Molen, producer for 2016 calls the charges against D’Souza “the equivalent of prosecuting a political dissident in the Soviet Union for jaywalking.” He said:
“Yes, jaywalking in the Soviet Union is a crime, but it’s a minor crime. The real point is that you are a political dissenter and the government wants to put you away.” Molen continued, “When Dinesh D’Souza can be prosecuted for making a movie every American should ask themselves one question: ‘What will I do to preserve the First Amendment?’”
Dave Weigel of the website Slate has labeled the whole issue a “Conspiracy of Dunces” and said he doesn’t believe this case is about payback.
“The law is the law, and cases like these are usually settled,” said Weigel. “Yes, in general, it’s a problem that campaign finance law is so haphazardly enforced. But I don’t see the logic that would turn D’Souza’s actions, as reported in the indictment and described by his lawyer, into a conspiracy.”
“What’s the theory, that a lame-duck president would order the U.S. Attorney to nail this activist whose film – according to Republican focus groups – was a failure at turning voters against the president,” Weigel asked.
“Fame shouldn’t inure anyone from consequence if they break laws,” said Weigel.
President Obama’s long-time buddy, Bill Ayers added, “He was indicted. I don’t know anything about the facts. I don’t know anything about the case. I’m not a lawyer. …. He was indicted. He was arrested. He’ll have his day in court. Who knows.”
Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney behind D’Souza’s indictment is rumored to be on a short list of candidates to replace Eric Holder.
According to Stephen K. Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News, “Given the scale of the allegations, it strikes me that the U.S. attorney went out of his way to intimidate and humiliate Dinesh. And for what purpose? If Preet Bharara demands ‘zero tolerance,’ let’s have at it – let’s have a full, unfettered FBI/Justice Department investigation into every allegation, starting with the fundraising apparatus built by the president and his ‘Chicagoland’ cronies.”
President Obama and former President Clinton both have their own history of questionable campaign donations said Brent Bozzell, founder and president of Media Research Center. Bozell told WND:
“Let’s assume Dinesh D’Souza is guilty, and I mean 100 percent guilty. What is he guilty of? Circumventing FEC dictates by directing [$15,000] to a Senate candidate of his choice. Big deal.”
“First, in a multi-million Senate campaign, this is a fraction of a fraction. It ‘buys’ a can of soda pop, and that’s about it. Second, and more importantly, compare this ‘crime’ with Bill Clinton, who raised millions of dollars from questionable at best, and illegal at worst sources, including felons and Chinese Communist generals. Compare it to Barack Obama, who raised millions upon millions from who-knows-who-or-where to this day. Nothing ever came of their fundraising abuses, abuses one thousand-fold larger than anything attributed to D’Souza. And yet he was arrested and forced to post a $500,000 bond.
“It is astonishing. Given all the other abuses of power swirling around this administration, so many of them finding their origins in the ‘Justice’ Department, do I see deliberate persecution against conservatives? I am not conspiratorial by nature, but I will say unequivocally, you better believe it.”
Bill Press, author of “The Obama Hate Machine: The lies, distortions and personal attacks on the president – and who is behind them,” and liberal talk-radio host and political columnist, isn’t buying into the conservative arguments that D’Souza is being subjected to unjustifiably harsh treatment for the crime.
“As hard as I look, I fail to find any political conspiracy behind the indictment of Dinesh D’Souza,” Press told WND. “If he did, indeed, as his lawyers claim, do nothing wrong, he has nothing to worry about. Under our great system of justice, he will never be convicted or serve any time unless he’s proven guilty without any doubt.
“The two arguments raised by conspiracy theorists are absurd. True, it’s not rare for people to try to get around the law by making ‘shadow’ political contributions. But it’s still against the law, and you have to pay the price, if caught. Surely, conservatives don’t believe that the argument ‘everybody does it’ is a morally valid reason for breaking the law.”
Pressed about whether the indictment was political payback, Tucker Carlson, FOX News political commentator and editor on chief of The Daily Caller told WND, “If you’d asked me this three years ago, I would have dismissed the question as paranoid. I’ve always disagreed with Obama’s policies, but I never thought this or any other administration would dare use the IRS to crush its political opponents.” He continued:
“Obviously I lacked imagination. The Obama people are perfectly capable of using law enforcement to hurt people they disagree with. We know this because they’ve done it.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., agreed, saying D’Souza’s indictment is “100 percent” political. She said: “Of course it is.,” “It is payback from the DOJ. Plus, it sends a signal to anyone else for 2016 who may be thinking of producing a movie.
“It is up to the candidate to return the money. This should have been found when the FEC filing occurred. I don’t know the details, but this could cost Dinesh literally millions in legal defense fees, plus destroying his name and making him toxic to conservatives and Republicans. These are the goals of the political destruction machine at the DOJ.
“It’s really to send a signal to others and to punish his success. This is worse than people can imagine,” she said.
Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas also agrees telling WND, “Yes, I think it is political. It fits a pattern of abuse of power. As someone else said, President Obama is the president Nixon wanted to be.”
Conservative icon and author Richard Viguerie told WND that although he does not know all of the facts, “What I do know is that the Holder Justice Department and Obama administration, including its IRS targeting conservatives, have replaced the rule of law and the equal protection of the laws with politicized law enforcement. Is the indictment of Dinesh D’Souza politically motivated? It certain appears to be.”
Successful filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch also sees the charge as political motivated. Said Lynch:
“Is he guilty of what it is they claim he did? I have no idea.” But, he added, “Guilty or not, they’re going to throw him into the mud to discredit his name.”
Lynch claims D’Souza would be a “superhero” in the mainstream media if he were a liberal—like Michael Moore. He asked:
“How can Michael Moore make an anti-capitalism film then go buy a mansion on a lake? Where’s his investigation?” “Why doesn’t anybody ever look into him? He uses creative editing.”
Gary Bauer knows Dinesh D’Souza well. Bauer is the president of American Values and a columnist for Human Events. He served in the Reagan administration for eight years as undersecretary of education and chief domestic policy advisor. Wrote Bauer:
“I know Dinesh D’Souza well – he worked for me in the Reagan White House.” “He is an extremely intelligent man and an articulate spokesman for conservatism. I won’t defend illegal behavior, but this case seems fishy.”
As Bauer explained, such cases have historically been treated as misdemeanors and offenders have typically just received fines – when they are Democrats, like in the case of O’Donnell. Bauer explained that typically these charges appear in a race that has been hotly contested and every dollar counts. Bauer continued:
“In D’Souza’s case, the race was a runaway for the Democrat.” “The candidate D’Souza supported had virtually no chance. So why was the FBI targeting this race unless someone decided to go after Dinesh D’Souza?
“If D’Souza broke the law, he should be held accountable. But given the harassment of conservatives in Hollywood, the treatment of tea-party groups and Christian ministries and the targeting of James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas in New York, it is hard not to question whether justice in Obama’s America is indeed still blind” wrote Bauer.
MSNBC’s Steve Benen had a big lament: “the right will take this opportunity to celebrate D’Souza as a political martyr.”
“Obviously, the idea that the Justice Department would go out of its way to target D’Souza is pretty silly and those pushing the argument have nothing to substantiate it,” said Benen “But the takeaway from their reaction is that the indictment may actually help improve D’Souza’s standing in conservative political circles.”
Alan Dershowitz, famed law professor, said to Newsmax, “This is clearly a case of selective prosecution for one of the most common things done during elections, which is to get people to raise money for you. If they went after everyone who did this, there would be no room in jails for murderers.”
A tweet from Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report said, “They are going after the Obama critics with indictments. VA Gov. Now Dinesh D’Souza. Holder unleashing the dogs.”
On CBS’ “Face the Nation” on January 26 Sen. Ted Cruz shared his concerns but instead of airing Cruz’s statements about alleged retaliation by Obama, CBS took it upon itself to edit the following comments out:
“Let me tell you something that deeply concerns me – it’s the abuse of power from this administration. We’ve seen multiple filmmakers prosecuted and the government’s gone after them. Whether it was the poor fellow that did the film that the president blamed Benghazi and the terrorist attack on – turned out that wasn’t the reason for the attack – but the administration went and put that poor fellow in jail on unrelated charges. Or just this week it was broken that Dinesh D’Souza, who did a very big movie criticizing the president, is now being prosecuted by this administration.”
“Can you image the reaction if the Bush administration had went, gone and prosecuted Michael Moore and Alec Baldwin and Sean Penn?”
You can view the video of Cruz’s statement here:
More than three dozen liberal pundits and left-leaning organizations were contacted by news media outlet WND to ask if they believed the indictment was politically motivated and only two agreed to comment: Slate’s Dave Weigel and liberal pundit Bill Press. WND also wanted to know: “If Michael Moore were criminally indicted during the Bush administration after directing ‘Fahrenheit 9/11,’ would you have any suspicions about political motivations?”
Robert Spencer for FrontPage mag wrote, “Liberals should be as concerned about this as conservatives. … For the evidence is mounting that D’Souza has indeed been targeted for being a public and high-profile foe of Barack Obama – a development that should disquiet anyone who believes in the value of a stable, functioning republic with a loyal opposition….
Spencer took note that the $500,000 bond for D’Souza was set higher than even those people who are accused of attempted murder, rape and assault.
“Decades of this have poisoned the well of American politics, and paved the way for Obama to take the demonization to the next level by unleashing the law on them,” wrote Spencer. “Arresting prominent members of the opposition is the kind of behavior we have seen from the likes of Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler; it is a hallmark of authoritarianism, not (until now) of politics in the United States. Of course, Stalin and Hitler didn’t stop with arresting their foes; they had them murdered as well, usually after a show trial. Obama is not doing that, but is even one step down this road one that Americans want to take?
“Leftist pundits who are waving away concern over the arrest of D’Souza should bear in mind that the worm could turn. They could, for some reason or another, find themselves somewhere down the line opposing the Obama regime or some other presidency that apes Obama’s strategy. Then those who are claiming that only believers in crazy “conspiracy theories” are concerned about the Obama Justice Department’s (to say nothing of the Obama IRS) clear pattern of singling out opponents of the president for prosecution while ignoring more serious crimes among his friends may find themselves on the receiving end of this tactic.”