My former National Review shipmate Dinesh D'Souza has pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws. As part of the general sclerosis of the "justice" system, he will not be sentenced until September 23rd. If the judge operates to the sentencing guidelines, D'Souza will serve 10-16 months in jail. He will also be, unto the end of his days, a convicted "felon", and thus, depending upon what sentence he serves, unable to own a gun, and, depending upon which state he chooses to make his home, unable to run for public office and/or vote.
For a $15,000 infraction. (Not 20K, as widely reported - the first five is legal.)
Here's what I wrote about the case four months ago:
The United States Government is corrupt. The IRS is corrupt, the EPA is corrupt, the Department of Justice is corrupt. They use their powers selectively to chastise their political enemies. In a hyper-regulatory state, there are laws against everything, and everyone is guilty of being in breach of at least 300 of them at any hour of the day. I have no use for Dinesh D'Souza, for example, but it seems obvious that he's been set up as this season's Benghazi video maker. There are gazillions of $20,000 campaign-finance infractions across America, but the only guy that's been singled out is the fellow who made a hit anti-Obama movie. As John Hayward puts it, he's been
'...busted for doing 59 in a 55-mph campaign-finance zone in your little compact car, while huge semi trucks full of political cash blast past you at a hundred miles an hour without the cops batting an eye.'
D'Souza's enemies are gloating. As is the habit in the American system, he will most likely be prevailed upon to cop a plea in return for a reduced sentence. And everyone else will get the message: If you make a film or write a book attacking Obama, make sure it's a flop - or anyway not so big a hit it catches the regime's eye.
As to those huge semis full of political cash, let's just start with the most obvious. In 2008, Barack Obama was elected president with the aid of not two "illegal" donations but thousands upon thousands:
I mentioned earlier that "Della Ware" of "12345 No Way" had managed to make a campaign donation to the fraud-friendly Obama website but not to the McCain site, and that the Obama money was whisked out of her account and into Barack's swollen coffers moments later. "Della" â€“ real name Erika â€“ emailed The New York Times and managed to persuade them to cover the story, if only on their blog. We'll see if the news is fit to print tomorrow morning. The headline is unusually robust â€“ "Obama's Online Site Accepts More Fakes" â€“ although the story continues:
'To be fair to the Obama campaign, officials there have said much of their checking for fraud occurs after the transactions have already occurred. When they find something wrong, they then refund the amount.'
If they'd really wanted "to be fair", the Times would have pointed out that, in order to accept donations from "Della Ware" and "Saddam Hussein" et al, the Obama website had, intentionally, to disable all the default security settings on their credit-card processing. I took a look at the inner sanctum of my (alas, far more modest) online retail operation this afternoon and, in order to permit fraud as easy as that which the Obama campaign is facilitating, you have to uncheck every single box on the AVS system, each one of which makes it very explicit just what you're doing â€“ ie, accepting transactions with no "billing address", no "street address" match, no "zip code" match, with a bank "of non-US origin" (I've got nothing against those, but a US campaign fundraiser surely should be wary), etc. When you've disabled the whole lot one step at a time, then you've got a system tailor-made for fake names and bogus addresses.
So the Times seems to have missed the point â€“ which is that this cannot be an unfortunate accidental side-effect of the unprecedented tsunami of enthusiasm for Barack the Spreader, but has to be something far more calculated. As Jim notes over in Geraghtistan:
'The press has been telling us about Obama's amazing online donations for more than a year now. There is absolutely no excuse for not digging into this story.'
The Obama campaign intentionally disabled all its credit-card security controls in order to accept thousands of illegal campaign donations. Were the D'Souza standards applied to Obama, he'd also be looking at a jail term and ineligible to run for (or continue in) office. Yet, oddly enough, federal investigators declined to look at the case.
Okay, what about a less successful presidential candidate? The oleaginous John Edwards:
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.
Records submitted to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show these individuals have often given $2,000 to the North Carolina Democrat, the maximum permitted by law.
In many instances, all the checks from a given firm arrived on the same day - from partners, attorneys, and other support staff.
Some of these support staff have not voted in the past, and those who have voted include registered Republicans, according to public records on file with various county registrars of voting.
Edwards' campaign records also reveal that many of these individuals' spouses and relatives contributed the maximum on the same day. The Hill found many of them to be first-time givers. Some have no previous demonstrable interest in politics, while others appear to be active Republicans.
Yeah, but it wasn't as huge a scam as Dinesh D'Souza's 15 grand, was it?
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.
And then there's the billion-dollar black hole of Obama bundler Jon Corzine:
Maybe in addition to having very close friends in the White House, the U.S. Senate, New Jersey and Wall Street, Corzine didn't do anything worth prosecuting related to MF Global bankruptcy and the straight-up loss of more than a billion dollars. And maybe in addition to having enemies in the White House and other corridors of power, D'Souza's $20,000 crime makes him Public Enemy #1. I don't know.
But if there were selective enforcement of laws under this administration, that would be something worth caring just a bit about.
There are other things "worth caring just a bit about", too. The American Spectator channels Pope and a famous "leader" headline in The Times of London:
Who Breaks A Butterfly Upon A Wheel?
But that's standard operating procedure here. America has the most politicized judiciary in the developed world, presiding over a system lacking any sense of proportion. Four months ago I commented on the fact that, for his15-grand crime, D'Souza had been handcuffed, had his passport confiscated, been obliged to cough up half-a-million dollars in bail, and was forbidden to travel beyond New York City without permission from the judge:
The cuffs, the bail, the internal exile: Sick, sick, sick. And Americans should be ashamed of themselves for putting up with it, presumably on the quaint belief that as long as they keep their heads down they're unlikely to catch the eye of their so-called "Justice" Department. I quoted the other day my old boss Conrad Black on federal "justice", so let me do so again:
'Those who do exercise their constitutional right to a defense receive three times as severe a sentence as those who plead guilty; 95 percent of cases are won by prosecutors, 90 percent of those without trial.'
D'Souza has made his first mistake by having the impertinence to plead "not guilty". But it's not so difficult to picture him a year or three down the road belatedly copping a plea in return for only two years in jail instead of the 15-30 or whatever crackpot sentence each individual count commands. And the rest of us will all learn an important lesson in what happens when your anti-Obama tract is too successful.
And so it has proved, although it took a mere four months rather than "a year or three". When you have a politicized judiciary operating a system with no sense of proportion, a l'il ol' thing called "equality before the law" is even more important. D'Souza's monstrous crime supposedly came to light during an FBI "routine review" of FEC campaign-finance filings. These "routine reviews" never stumbled on Obama or Edwards or Corzine's groaning sacks of untold millions, so senators Cruz, Grassley, Lee and Sessions were sufficiently intrigued to write to the FBI asking them to explain what exactly these "routine reviews" are, and what other government entities are involved. As I said at the time:
Once they have these answers, they'll presumably be reassured by the happy coincidence of an entirely random "routine review" just happening to alight on the one guy in the country who made a hit anti-Obama movie.
In the hyper-regulatory state, we are all guilty of something. In the NSA security state, the authorities can easily find the something or other of which we're guilty. And, in a land of arbitrary, whimsical, selectively enforced law, what matters is not guilt or innocence but merely whether you're the guy the feds decide to target.
That was D'Souza's crime: he made the mistake of attracting their attention.
A land with selectively enforced law is a land with no law. It is, in fact, a tyranny.
I'm often asked why I live in far northern New Hampshire. And I usually reply, well, it's only 40 minutes from the border, and you never know when you might have to leave in a hurry. I used to say it as a joke.