Who’s Next? D’Souza Joins Parade of Scofflaws Pardoned by Trump

An 'elephant-whistle' to Michael Cohen?

News item: President Trump to pardon conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza for violations of campaign finance laws.

Joe Arpaio. Scooter Libby, and now D’Souza. Who’s next? How about a posthumous pardon for Watergate cover-up accomplices Bob Haldeman or John Mitchell? Or maybe Elliot Abrams, convicted of withholding information from Congress in the Reagan era Iran-Contra scandal, could use a pass.

In pardoning D’Souza, who pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign contributions to a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012, the president is “blowing an elephant whistle to Michael Cohen & all who know damning things about Trump” Harvard Law Prof. Lawrence Tribe tweeted this morning: “protect me & I’ll have your back. Turn on me & your goose is cooked.”

That sounds about right. Cohen, Trump’s lawyer and self-styled fixer, already is under investigation for – among other things – running a campaign finance scheme strikingly similar to the one that snared D’Souza. He’s acknowledged paying adult film entrepreneur Stormy Daniels $130,000 just before the 2016 election to buy her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, and then being reimbursed by Trump after the election.

D’Souza pleaded guilty to evading federal campaign contribution limits by pressuring two associates and their spouses to contribute $5,000 each to Senate candidate Wendy Long and then reimbursing them for the contributions. In court, he admitted that was aware the maneuver was illegal.

Common Cause has filed Justice Department and Federal Election Commission complaints alleging that the payment to Daniels was an in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign. The donation far exceeded limits set by federal law; if Trump had made the payment directly, it would have been legal but subject to disclosure requirements.

D’Souza, a documentary filmmaker and conservative commentator, is a prominent figure in “alt-right” circles, though his extreme views have been disavowed by many mainstream conservatives. He probably is most prominent for his racist attacks on former President Barack Obama; he penned a book, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” asserting that Obama’s policies as president were driven by the anti-colonialist views of Obama’s Kenyan father.

In a book review published by The American Conservative, Daniel Larison dismissed suggested D’Souza’s view as “possibly be the most ridiculous piece of Obama analysis yet written… All in all, D’Souza’s article reads like a bad conspiracy theory.”