This is the same type of crime that Dinesh D'Souza is accused of, though his amount is much smaller ($20,000 versus $180,000). It will be interesting to see how the penalties compare. Hillary's donor faces a maximum of 25 years, but agreed to a plea deal that looks like he will face 5.25 years in prison and forfeit $1 million. From Politico:
A prominent New York hotel magnate who was a top bundler for then-Sen. Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign pled guilty in federal court Thursday to making more than $180,000 in illegal campaign contributions and to witness tampering.
Sant Chatwal, 70, admitted using employees and vendors for his hotels as straw donors to avoid limits dictated by campaign finance law. Investigators also recorded Chatwal telling an associate not to admit that donations were reimbursed, court papers say.
"Without [donations] nobody will even talk to you," Chatwal said in a recorded conversation, according to a criminal information filed in lieu of an indictment in the case (and posted here). "When they are in need of money [unintelligible] the money you give then they are always for you.That's the only way to buy them, get into the system." . . .
In Dinesh's case, the maximum penalty is seven years if the prison terms were to run consecutively.
D’Souza was charged Thursday with one count of making illegal campaign contributions, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. He also is charged with one count of causing false statements to be made to the FEC, which carries a maximum of five years in prison. . . .
A copy of the indictment against Dinesh is available here. I don't put it past the Obama administration to punish a political opponent, but the evidence seems pretty strong. This is from Gawker (note that Denise Odie Joseph was Dinesh's mistress at this time and Tyler Vawser was his personal assistant).
On August 30, 2012, according to a quarterly report filed two months later, the Long campaign received a $10,000 donation under the name of Joseph’s husband. On the same day, the campaign received another $10,000 donation, under Vawser’s name. Campaign finance law caps individual contributions at $5,000, so both donations were flagged by Long’s treasurer for “reattribution/redesignation.” (By then D’Souza and his wife Dixie had both contributed the maximum amount to Long’s campaign.)
The problem that I see with Dinesh's defense is that he will have to explain why both donations occurred at the same time. If it was due to a misunderstanding, he will have to explain why two people had the exact same misunderstanding at the same time.
Vawser’s $10,000 donation was never split up or refunded, according to subsequent FEC filings. But on October 22, 2012—a week after D’Souza’s affair with Joseph scandalized the evangelical community and D’Souza resigned his presidency at The King’s College—Long’s treasurer “reattributed” $5,000 of Louis Joseph’s original donation to Denise Joseph, leaving Louis with an identical $5,000 contribution. (It's not clear from the filings why Joseph received a post-election refund for $5,000—a perfectly legal amount of money.)
If Joseph’s refund triggered the U.S. Attorney’s investigation (and Bharara’s timeline suggests it may have done so), it would have been quick work finding her husband’s original $10,000 donation, Vawser’s donation for the same amount (on the same day!), and finally the trio’s lowest common denominator: Dinesh D’Souza.
D’Souza’s lawyer has denied the charges, claiming they arose from “an act of misguided friendship.”
Labels: Dinesh D'Souza, Hillary Clinton Corruption