No, Rachel Maddow Show and MSNBC, Dinesh D'Souza's Guilty Plea Did Not Make This Free Speech Defender "Reflect on [My] Error"

Dinesh D'Souza—I'm sure after careful consideration of the risks of the absurd situation he found himself in in the land of the free, facing jail time for the act of wanting to support a political candidate and giving his friends money—pled guilty today to violating campaign finance regulations by advising friends to donate $20,000 to the congressional campaign of his old college chum Wendy Long in 2012, and reimbursing them for the money they donated. (D'Souza was not immediately available for comment this afternoon.)

The basic facts about today, from a USA Today account:

His plea came the same day his criminal trial had been scheduled to begin in a Manhattan federal court...

"Mr. D'Souza agreed to accept responsibility for having urged two close associates to make contributions of $10,000 each to the unsuccessful 2012 Senate campaign of Wendy Long and then reimbursing them for their contributions," his attorney Benjamin Brafman said in a statement Tuesday.

D'Souza is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 23. He faces up to 16 months in prison and a fine of up to $30,000, according to a plea agreement released Tuesday by prosecutors.

I blogged about this when the indictment came down in January, and was one among many perturbed by the indictment.

Democracy survived this perfidy; the very much outspent Ms. Long was defeated by incumbent Kirstin Gillibrand, 72 percent to 27 percent.

At Rachel Maddow's MSNBC website, Rachel Maddow crows Steven Benen writing on the MaddowBlog crows, happy to see political foes punished for acts of political expression in this land of the First Amendment:

Now that D’Souza has admitted to wrongdoing, one wonders if his high-profile allies will reflect on their error.

No, Ms. Maddow Mr. Benen writing at Ms. Maddow's blog, I don't think I have any error to reflect on, even though I know I don't count as "high profile," unlike the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, and Fox News.

Because my "defense" of D'Souza—or rather, attack on the injustice facing him—had nothing to do with whether he really did or did not encourage friends to support his old friend running for Congress, or whether he gave his friends money in an allegedly illegal quid pro quo.

Money is fungible, so goodness knows one should watch out if you ever loan or give money to a friend who might also have given money to a candidate you've maxed out on.

I don't like contemplating how and why this particular person—a loud enemy of the Obama administration with his successful film 2016: Obama's Americaended up the subject of an investigation that ferreted out this thoughtcrime.

And it is a thought crime, since it turns what is otherwise perfectly legal and within one's rights—supporting a candidate with a certain amount of money, talking to friends about a candidate, and giving money to one's friends—something liable to throw you behind bars when done with an improper motive in one's minds, according to the law.

And I still don't like it when these kind of b.s. crimes that no country with a First Amendment should countenance are enforced at all, much less so suspiciously.

Nor do I like it when courageous truth-to-power reporters are so smugly pleased when enemies of the regime are targeted with such investigations into such petty paper crimes.

So, D'Souza can be as "guilty" as sin of what he's accused of, and I'd still be loudly saying: Free Dinesh!

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  • ||

    Progressives don't really have a problem with a crap ton of money being given to candidates. They have a problem with people who they hate having the ability to donate money to their favorite candidates. If the Koch Brothers were flaming leftists they would be adored by the media.

  • ||

    ^This-I was just about to write something similar.

    See: Adelson, Sheldon.

  • GILMORE||

    "If the Koch Brothers were flaming leftists they would be adored by the media."

    THIS IS NONSENSE. WHY, THEY ARE THE MOST INTELLECTUALLY CONSISTENT AND MORALLY SELF-AWARE...

    OH, WAIT

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don't like contemplating how and why this particular person—a loud enemy of the Obama administration with his successful film 2016: Obama's America—ended up the subject of an investigation that ferreted out this thoughtcrime.

    I think somewhere in the middle of your sentence is the answer to what you don't want to contemplate.

  • Pro Libertate||

    At least he wasn't audited.

  • Bobarian||

    yet.

  • ||

    By the IRS or the Scientologists?

  • Pro Libertate||

    What's the difference?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Y'know, I hate conspiracizing but in this case I think it's pretty clear that someone who had beef with D'Souza found a law that fit the circumstance. The law they used (ironically, one crafted in part by a Republican Presidential nominee) was sufficiently Orwellian that it should have been vetoed by the President and/or struck down in its entirety by the SC back in '03. I know I'm gonna sound like Shreeeek right now, but I don't care. That worthless product of GHWB's cum, the "compassionate conservative"'s lowest moment in office (among a series of them) was his complete acquiescence to the demolishment of the First by signing McCain-Feingold into law. That action alone should have had his ass impeached.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Impeached by the very Congress that just sent the law to his desk?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Preferably by a new Congress with some fidelity to the American Constitution -- huh, that does sound a bit more farcical than the scenario you just outlined, doesn't it?

    I'm not an anarchist, but some days...

  • Hyperion||

    a new Congress with some fidelity to the American Constitution

    I wonder where we can find one of those?

    It's more likely that I find the largest blue diamond ever discovered while I'm walking to my car tomorrow morning.

  • Warren's Strapon||

    And then drown.

  • Sudden||

    It's more likely that I find the largest blue diamond ever discovered while I'm walking to my car tomorrow morning.

    How is that unlikely? Are you giving your orphans the day off or are have you simply sold off your remaining diamond mines?

  • Hugh Akston||

    I don't like contemplating how and why this particular person—a loud enemy of the Obama administration with his successful film 2016: Obama's America—ended up the subject of an investigation that ferreted out this thoughtcrime.

    Utter coincidence.

  • Hyperion||

    Fake scandal!

    /Shreeky

  • paranoid android||

    I'd call Maddow's comments Pravda-esque, but that's really unfair. After all, the editors of Pravda would have been shot for not parroting the government line--what's Maddow's excuse?

  • Slammer||

    Thrown off the TEAM?

  • Michael||

    That would be devastating. I don't think she can stomach watching softball from the sidelines.

  • R C Dean||

    It was monumentally stupid by Dinesh, as its a pretty blatant violation of the law. It can only be justified as an act of civil disobedience, in which case he should have put it together as a donation to a Dem candidate, and then publicly and loudly announce what he had done and dared the government to come after him.

    I say this purely as a tactical matter. The law itself is a gross violation of the First Amendment and plain old common sense, passed in blatant disregard of the Iron Law:

    Money and power will always find each other.

    This stupid law no more prevents bribery and corruption than gun control laws prevent gangbangers from greasing each other.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Here's my thought: isn't this effectively what some types of bundling amount to? I guess is really is true that if you do a bad thing to one person, it's a tragedy (and if you do it with thousands, it's just another statistic).

  • Paul.||

    I'm not sure I get where you're going. The concept of "bundling" was created by unconstitutional campaign finance laws.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    That's what I'm getting at. Bundling appears to me to be a more sophisticated (and lucrative) way to get around the law than what D'Souza did, but D'Souza is going to jail for what amounts to petty cash while Bill Clinton, GWB, and Barack Obama get to profit off of their quite similar workaround to the tune of millions.

    D'Souza is a twit, but I don't see how that absolves this show trial.

  • Pathogen||

    Cough..*Solyndra*..Cough..

  • R C Dean||

    The difference is that bundling doesn't involve anyone writing a check back to the person who made the contribution that got bundled.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    True but are not many bundlers promising either an in-kind benefit or ROI down the line? I don't see how in-kind or deferred payment delivered by a(n unwilling) third party differs substantially from what D'Souza did.

  • R C Dean||

    That would bribery (a benefit arranged by the candidate in exchange for a campaign contribution), not a violation of the law setting limits on campaign contributions.

  • Sudden||

    Of course, we're missing a central point here: the presence of campaign finance limits forced this man to utilize the equivalent of straw buyers to funnel money directly to this particular campaign. So the end result is that efforts to keep money out of politics serve only to limit the open disclosure of campaign contributions and thus serve to only magnify whatever alleged pernicious influence is present.

    But the Left will conveniently ignore any such unintended consequences.

  • Paul.||

    Money is fungible, so goodness knows one should watch out if you ever loan or give money to a friend who might also have given money to a candidate you've maxed out on

    Money ain't got owners, it only got spenders. -- Omar Little

  • ||

    OMAR COMIN'

  • Paul.||

    If I ever plead guilty to a weapons violation, I am not admitting I'm doing anything wrong, I'm merely pleading guilty to a violation of the law.

  • Warren's Strapon||

    Thank you, that was exactly what I thought when I saw this

    Now that D’Souza has admitted to wrongdoing

    horseshit.

    D'Souza admitted no such thing.

  • Mike M.||

    What's really sad is D'Souza is probably fortunate that he's still alive. Michael Hastings and Andrew Breitbart weren't quite so lucky.

  • Hyperion||

    Not sure about Breitbart, but the Michael Hastings case is probably the most likely conspiracy theory being an actual truth as I've seen in my lifetime.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The coroner who autopsied Breitbart dying mysteriously a few days later pushed that whole episode into conspiracy territory.

  • ||

    To be precise, the piece is not by Maddow as it was actually bylined with her producer's name, Steve Benen. I wish I had a beta male to do knee-jerk moral posturing on my behalf.

  • Brian Doherty||

    Eep, missed that byline. (Not that one should have assumed Maddow actually wrote it anyway....). Clumsily corrected above.

  • Sudden||

    You do. His name is Matt Welch (jussskidding Matty, y'know I love you buddy)

  • Hyperion||

    We have to pick on Matt so that he knows he's loved.

  • Sudden||

    That's why no one picks on me.

  • Pathogen||

    Because you spray them with your musk?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I can't wait until the memoirs of the Obama administration people come out, and we find out the actual story of this prosecution.

    But I bet Obama and Holder will say they were as surprised as anyone by the revelations!

  • Pathogen||

    They'll find out that they were surprised on the evening news...

  • Hyperion||

    Obama didn't even know about it until he read it in the paper.

  • Raven Nation||

    we find out the actual story of this prosecution

    Maybe. But the Dems seem to be better than the Rs in keeping people loyal. Not much (comparatively) came out of the Clinton administration.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    Well, it also helps that most of the media is on the Ds side, so they're much less likely to touch material that damages Ds.

  • Brandon||

    When Obama sees it on CNN, he will be glad that justice was served and no one acted stupidly.

  • ||

    Nor do I like it when courageous truth-to-power reporters are so smugly pleased when enemies of the regime are targeted with such investigations into such petty paper crimes.

    The masks slip more every day. It will be a good day when they just throw them aside and admit to being the authoritarian bootlicker scum they are.

  • Hyperion||

    The mask is nearly off. It's the equivalent of a date only having he G-string left on. Anyone not having the dullest of imagination already knows what they are getting.

  • ||

    Mostly true, but what I really want to see happen is that they stop pretending to themselves that they're not authoritarian bootlicker scum. You know. I know. But somehow they still think they're champions of justice and good. The more the masks slip, the harder it will be for them to continue deluding themselves.

  • prolefeed||

    It's hard to do that and still be smug.

    And never underestimate the power to engage in doublethink when you get paid well for doing so.

  • Robert||

    You mean when they go on TV with manacled people being whipped against the wall in the background, cackle into the camera, "You are in my power!", and otherwise act like super-villains? Actually that'd be cool, it'd be worth seeing that happen.

  • Bobarian||

    "Anyone not having the dullest of imagination already knows what they are getting."

    Wait-a-minute! We were talking about Maddow, right?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I don't think that day will ever come. Robespierre was helped in his killing (and eventually killed) by people who thought themselves moral, and who internalized Rousseau's contradiction of the collective We living in harmony with the spontaneous I, while somehow also ruling over the unruly mass of "I"s. Stalin and Hitler's butchers died in a similar state of incongruence; powerless socialists doing their best against the all-powerful foe they are fighting for Our Good.

    They will never give up their self-image, because that's all they have.

  • ||

    Yes, but if they let the masks slip enough, some of the people that are supporters or think they might agree with them will probably be scared off. Their completely absurd pretense that they are good people who care about the downtrodden gets them a lot of mileage. The more their masks slip, the less mileage they'll get.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    This is true.

  • Pathogen||

    Brutal introspection from the rank and file altruists in the MSM? Bullllshiiit! the kool-aide will tamp that down... forever. Chicago Jesus shall be reborn, all hail Queen Shillary!

  • WDATPDIM?!||

    And it is a thought crime, since it turns what is otherwise perfectly legal and within one's rights —- supporting a candidate with a certain amount of money, talking to friends about a candidate, and giving money to one's friends —- something liable to throw you behind bars when done with an improper motive in one's minds, according to the law.

    I don't think this particular argument helps your cause. The crime is not merely thinking to yourself "I hope this enables Goober to donate to Romney" while giving Goober $500 (or a case of Jim Beam or whatever). There has to be some evidence that Goober understood that in connection with your gift, he was supposed to donate to Romney.

    Whether this should be a crime is another matter, of course.

  • Another David||

    Yeah, I was just thinking, if this is a thoughtcrime, then so's conspiracy to commit anything else.

  • Brian Doherty||

    Perhaps. From a genuine libertarian perspective, I do have big trouble with punishment merely for "conspiracy" to do things that weren't actually done. It also matters, I think, whether the "conspiracy" was to do something actually criminal, that is, actually directly damaging someone's life, person, or property.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "by advising friends to donate $20,000 to the congressional campaign of his old college chum Wendy Long in 2012, and reimbursing them for the money they donated. "

    If there was clearly an arrangement between them for them to donate, and him to reimburse, he was willfully breaking the law.

    If he just wanted them reimburse them after the fact, I wouldn't complain.

    But either way, he set himself up to be screwed. And for nothing. What a putz.

  • Tony||

    Nor do I like it when courageous truth-to-power reporters are so smugly pleased when enemies of the regime are targeted with such investigations into such petty paper crimes.

    This seems to be implying that D'Souza is one of them. Except he doesn't speak truth to power, he speaks lies to buck-toothed morons.

  • kbolino||

    It must be really nice to live in a world where reading comprehension takes a back seat to advancing the narrative.

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