Conservative commentator paid money using others names for donations.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: Conservative commentator and best-selling author Dinesh Dâ€™Souza was indicted in New York City on charges that he illegally employed the use of straw donors to finance a Senate campaign in 2012.
A straw donor is any person who uses someone elseâ€™s name when making a donation towards a political campaign. Federal law prohibits any one individual or organization from donating more than a certain amount, so if someone wants to exceed that, the idea is that they recruit a third party to donate their money for them under their own name.
The law capping campaign contributions was enacted in 1971 under the Federal Election Campaign Act, and states â€œNo person shall make a contribution in the name of another person or knowingly permit his name to be used to effect such a contribution, and no person shall knowingly accept a contribution made by one person in the name of another person.â€
Prosecutors allege that Dâ€™Souza persuaded friends and colleagues to donate as much as $20,000 to the campaign of Republican candidate Wendy Long, a former classmate of his from his days at Dartmouth College, saying he would pay them back for their contributions. The $20,000 is four times what the limit is on any one personâ€™s contribution â€“ $5,000. On top of that, Long ended up losing the election in a landslide to Democratic incumbent Kirsten E. Gillibrand.
Long was only able to raise about $785,000 for her campaign, a relatively low sum for a Senatorial race, leaving many to wonder how prosecutors even found out about Dâ€™Souzaâ€™s straw donors if the sums were so low. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan, as well as court documents, reveal little in the way of how the investigation and arrest were made.
Born in Mumbai in 1961, Dâ€™Souza immigrated to the US for his higher studies, graduating from Dartmouth in 1983 with a B.A. in English. Dâ€™Souza has always been a divisive figure, both politically and religiously, and has written several books espousing his faith in both Christianity and Conservatism. A number of his books have gone on to become New York Times and national bestsellers. In 2012, he released a documentary entitled 2016: Obamaâ€™s Rage, a condemnation of the Obama Administration and where he believed the current President is going to leave the country when he exits office.
He is also a prolific newspaper columnist, having written in publications such as Forbes, and has appeared on television as well as universities for lectures and sermons. He is affiliated with several high-profile Conservative think tanks, including the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, worked as a policy advisor to President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, and is currently the president of The Kingâ€™s College, a small, private Christian school in New York City.
He has been married to Dixie Brubaker for over 20 years; together, the couple has one daughter named Danielle.