President Trump said Thursday he would pardon conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, convicted in 2014 of making illegal campaign contributions.
“Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government!” Trump tweeted Thursday as he headed to Texas.
D’Souza is serving five years probation for making illegal campaign contributions in the names of others to support the candidacy of Republican New York Senate candidate Wendy Long, who lost to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Those straw donations allowed him to give $20,000 in illegal contributions to the campaign, exceeding the $5,000 legal limit.
D’Souza pleaded guilty to the charge. And though he argued that he was being selectively prosecuted because of his attacks on President Barack Obama, he later backed off the claim at his sentencing.
“I’m sorry for what I did. I have never said otherwise,” he said. “I have never even said I am being selectively prosecuted. I feared that I was being.”
The D’Souza pardon would continue Trump’s use of clemency power to correct what he perceives as unjust, politically motivated prosecutions. But they also come amid investigations into his own campaign and inner circle — including a probe into whether his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, violated the law when he illegally paid off a porn star who said she had a relationship with Trump.
Rick Hasen, a University of California, Irvine law professor who specializes in election law, said the pardon sends “yet another signal to Michael Cohen and others about the possibility of a Trump pardon — and this one, like potentially Cohen’s case — involves campaign finance violations.”