Conservative author Dinesh D’Souza pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations on Tuesday, admitting that he used straw donors to illegally funnel money to failed Senate candidate Wendy Long (R-NY) in 2012.
“I deeply regret my conduct,” D’Souza said in court. “I knew that causing a campaign contribution to be made in the name of another was wrong and something the law forbids.”
D’Souza’s confession, which was likely made in an attempt to avoid jail time — he faced two years in prison and a $250,000 fine — must come as a great shock to many Republicans. After all, when news of the charges first broke, many on the right were convinced that they were merely the latest example of President Obama’s egregious abuse of power.
Here are five right-wingers who look really, really dumb today:
Shortly after D’Souza’s arrest in January, Senator Cruz (R-TX) appeared on CBS’ Face The Nation to share the horrible truth about the case:
“Just this week it was broken that Dinesh D’Souza, who did a very big movie criticizing the president, is now being prosecuted by this administration,” Cruz told host Bob Schieffer. “Can you image the reaction if the Bush administration had went, gone and prosecuted Michael Moore and Alec Baldwin and Sean Penn?”
“It should trouble everyone the government uses government power and the IRS in particular to target their enemies,” he added.
Chuck Grassley, Mike Lee, and Jeff Sessions
Cruz wasn’t the only U.S. senator to smell a conspiracy in the charges against D’Souza. In February, Cruz and his Republican colleagues from Alabama, Iowa, and Utah co-signed a letter to FBI Director James Comey, in which they quoted Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz as saying, “I can’t help but think that [D’Souza’s] politics have something to do with it. … It smacks of selective prosecution.”
“To dispel this sort of public perception that Mr. D’Souza may have been targeted because of his outspoken criticisms of the president, it is important for the FBI to be transparent regarding the precise origin of this investigation,” the senators wrote.
The four lawmakers will presumably sleep easy tonight, knowing that D’Souza’s was merely targeted for good old-fashioned corruption.
D’Souza’s fellow right-wing pundits also declined to look before they leapt to his defense.
Radio host Laura Ingraham — who once teamed with D’Souza to throw a fundraiser for Long, whom they both know from their time at Dartmouth College — lamented that D’Souza’s indictment heralded the “Brave New World of retribution justice.”
“This is so transparent,” Ingraham insisted. “This two-and-a-half page indictment is more about stifling political dissent and intimidating other people from speaking out than it is about any real serious allegation of wrongdoing.”
“How many of you think if Dinesh D’Souza made a film that was…an anti-fracking film, that just slammed the idea of fracking, or if it was an anti-Romney film,” she asked, “how many of you think Eric Holder’s Justice Department would decide to indict someone for federal election campaign violations for $20,000?”
Because what’s a little fraud among old pals?
Rush Limbaugh also suspected foul play, claiming that D’Souza, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell are all victims of the Obama administration’s totalitarian overreach.
“The justice system as run by Democrats is out trying to criminalize as many Republicans and conservatives as they can,” Limbaugh raged.
Ironically, on the same day that D’Souza pleaded guilty, a U.S. district judge tossed out a motion to dismiss most of the charges against his fellow “victim,” Bob McDonnell.
Of course, no right-winger was more adamant that D’Souza was innocent than Dinesh D’Souza himself.
Before he was willing to admit that he was knowingly breaking the law, D’Souza had his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, file the court papers that would launch a thousand conspiracies:
In his filing, Mr. Brafman argued there was “good reason for concern” that Mr. D’Souza, the author of the best-selling 2010 book The Roots of Obama’s Rage, was “selectively targeted for felony prosecution because of his outspoken, vigorous and politically controversial criticism and condemnation” of the president and his administration.
D’Souza himself would later appear on Fox News, and tell host Megyn Kelly that the charges against him are part of a “broader pattern of going after people who are critics.”
“I made a film very critical of Obama, I know for a fact that he was very unnerved, upset about the film,” D’Souza said. “I am a public critic of the president, and I do recognize that this has made me, to some degree, vulnerable to some forms of counterattack.”
“I had heard that Obama was a very vindictive guy, and when I was down in Kenya I noticed that the Obama family is extremely paranoid,” he added conspiratorially.