Conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza is under indictment for allegedly running an illegal contribution scheme in a 2012 U.S. Senate race.
D'Souza, whose highly critical film 2016: Obama's America became a commercial success in 2012, was charged Thursday with one count of contributing money to a U.S. Senate campaign in the name of others, totaling $20,000, which carries a maximum of two years in prison. He's also been charged with causing a false statement to be made to the Federal Election Commission, which carries a maximum of five years in prison.
According to the indictment, D'Souza allegedly told associates to make campaign contributions for a single candidate, which he then reimbursed.
"Trying to influence elections through bogus campaign contributions is a serious crime. Today, Mr. D'Souza finds himself on the wrong side of the law," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos said in a statement. "The Federal Election Campaign Act was written to limit the influence of money in elections; the FBI is fiercely committed to enforcing those laws to maintain the integrity of our democratic process."
In the 2012 race, D'Souza campaigned and hosted fundraisers for Wendy Long in her bid against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. But no candidate was named in the indictment.
Federal laws laws prohibit an individual from making more than a total of $5,000 in campaign contributions to any one candidate.
D'Souza's documentary, which grossed over $33 million and included an interview with the president's half-brother, became a hit among conservatives with its sharply critical view of President Obama. He is also a best-selling author, former King's College president, and former policy analyst for President Reagan.