“Taking Down D’Souza and Other Abuses of Power”

Brad Smith:

I have no idea if Dinesh D’Souza is guilty of the alleged campaign finance law violations. One cannot make campaign contributions in the name of another or exceed the legal limit—then $5000—to a candidate in a campaign cycle. But most people are not aware of this restriction, and violations of this provision are both relatively common and usually inadvertent. Such violations are typically handled as civil matters, subjected to small fines. This is especially true when, as here, the race in which the violation occurred was never even competitive. Long’s Democratic opponent, Kristin Gillibrand (D. N.Y.) won with over seventy percent of the vote while outspending Long by over $13 million. Criminal indictments and handcuffs for a first-time offender will strike many as overkill.

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