By James Fite
President Donald Trump pardoned Dinesh D’Souza Thursday, May 31. The Conservative author and filmmaker was convicted in 2014 of making illegal campaign contributions through straw donors. He pleaded guilty to campaign finance fraud and was sentenced to five years on probation, eight months in a “community confinement center,” weekly counseling, and a $30,000 fine – $10,000 more than the 2012 donation to New York Republican Wendy Long that landed him in the hot seat.
How Pardons Work
Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution gives the president the power to “grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” Also called executive clemency, only the president holds that power, and it only applies to federal crimes and offenses handled by military court-martial or that occurred in Washington D.C.
According to the Justice Department:
“A presidential pardon is ordinarily a sign of forgiveness and is granted in recognition of the applicant’s acceptance of responsibility for the crime and established good conduct for a significant period of time after conviction or release from confinement.”
Those who receive pardons must still disclose the past convictions if they are required by law to disclose a conviction, but they may also disclose that they have been pardoned. Additionally, they regain some federal rights. Those dictated by the state, on the other hand, are not returned by way of presidential clemency.
D’Souza certainly fits the criteria. He accepted responsibility for his misdeeds, served his sentence, and completed his community service by teaching English to foreign language speaking citizens and immigrants seeking citizenship.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders used these facts and the claim that D’Souza was the victim of politically selective prosecution to justify the pardon. Trump announced the pardon via tweet early that same morning.
Will be giving a Full Pardon to Dinesh D’Souza today. He was treated very unfairly by our government!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2018
The Left Goes Nuts
The left immediately attacked the decision, of course. As a conservative voice heard nationwide, Dinesh D’Souza has been a thorn in their flesh. To make it even worse, he’s not even a white supremacist redneck. That’s right, Dinesh D’Souza is an Indian immigrant. This fact makes the presidential act of clemency doubly an offense to the left. Not only does the pardon belie their claim that Donald Trump is anti-immigrant, but the man also refuses to be a good little foreigner and stay in his political ghetto – firmly in support of the DNC.
Instead, he declares the American left to be the political children of the Nazis and fascists of Hitler’s day, as he did on Liberty Nation in September of 2017.
In their self-righteous ire, CNN lambasted the pardon as a corrupt president looking out for one of his own supporters in an article titled “Here’s the real reason behind Donald Trump’s pardon spree.”
Spree indeed. Donald Trump has pardoned five people – one of whom has been dead for 72 years. That’s nothing compared to Barack Obama, who pardoned 1,927 people in his two terms. No president has pardoned more since Truman, who granted 2,044 of them. To put those numbers in perspective, Bush and Clinton only pardoned 200 and 429 people, respectively – and they were both two-term presidents.
Mr. D’Souza reported that the president called him to let him know ahead of time and that they had a good chat, lasting about 10 minutes. He tweeted his thanks, and, of course, another jab at Obama-and-friends.
Obama & his stooges tried to extinguish my American dream & destroy my faith in America. Thank you @realDonaldTrump for fully restoring both
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) May 31, 2018
The Bottom Line
Did Dinesh D’Souza break the law? Apparently so. He pleaded guilty to it back in 2014 and later accepted the pardon. However, his crime was giving too much money to a political figure – not a terrorist organization or human trafficking ring, mind you. And it is difficult to see this as anything other than revenge for his anti-Obama work when you consider that Anti-Trump Democrat supporter Rosie O’Donnell seems to be getting a pass on the same transgression.
Either way, the man owned up to his crime and did his time. He meets every qualification for a pardon. Why shouldn’t he have one?