Rachel Alexander

Washington periodical The Hill digs deeper into the curiously uniform $2,000 contributions Sen. John Edwards' presidential campaign got from so many receptionists, paralegals and other low-level staffers at plaintiff's law firms. The $2,000 donors include many employees who had not given to candidates or even voted in the past, and others who are listed on the voting rolls as Republicans. Many spouses and relatives of the staffers likewise contributed the maximum. Some of the munificent staffers have recently gone through the kind of personal financial reverses -- bankruptcy filings, for example -- which would not seem to correlate in the natural order of things with having a large available checkbook for political donations. "In many instances, all the checks from a given firm arrived on the same day -- from partners, attorneys, and other support staff."

The reality is, thousands of people donate to political campaigns through straw donors. It’s just usually tolerated and ignored, or at most there is a wrist slap such as a paltry fine. I am a former attorney for the Maricopa County Elections Department. If authorities had the resources to dig through and investigate all of the donors to every race for office across the country, I suspect the vast majority of them would contain straw donors. If straw donors had been reported contributing $20,000 to a Congressional Democrat’s campaign, would this Democratic administration have brought charges? Of course not, it would have swept the incident under the rug or dismissed it on strained, bogus technical grounds. Sadly, lawyers and judges with an agenda are able to twist the law to achieve a desired outcome in our judicial system.

$20,000 was a drop in the bucket, not enough to affect a Congressional race. Even the liberal New York Times admitted, “It is not clear from the court documents what led investigators to Mr. D’Souza in a fund-raising case involving relatively small donations.” D’Souza’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, points out that the actions do not even rise to the level of criminal behavior. Bringing draconian criminal charges against D’Souza shows that Obama finds him a threat and will engage in selective prosecution to destroy his credibility. As an American of Indian descent, he has broad appeal that destroys the Democrats’ claims that the GOP is a party full of rich old white men.

It seems dubious that the charges are even valid. Ed Morrissey of HotAir finds it odd that the brilliant D’Souza would push illegal contributions, risking criminal prosecution, in a race where millions of dollars were spent and where his candidate had virtually no chance of winning. Long lost by a landslide 44 percent. D’Souza could have legally bundled the money or set up a PAC for contributions.

This is why campaign finance laws don’t work. If campaign finance laws hadn’t been in place limiting individuals’ donations, this wouldn’t be news. History has shown that everytime campaign finance laws are passed, people just find ways around them. There are too many campaign finance laws. While there is a strong argument in favor of disclosure laws, a good start would be eliminating the caps on contributions. Otherwise the targeting of conservatives will continue.

Gerald Molen, co-producer of D’Souza’s documentary, said in a statement, “In America, we have a long tradition of not doing what is commonly done in too many other countries — criminalizing dissent through the selective enforcement of the law. But that has seemingly changed in Obama’s America. In light of the recent events and the way the IRS has been used to stifle dissent, this arrest should send shivers down the spines of all freedom-loving Americans.”

Conservative commentator Laura Ingraham calls it an act of political retribution. “This indictment is the kind of thing that we’re kind of accustomed to seeing come out of a place like China,” she said. “They jail dissidents, they put them in reeducation camps. This is a country run by people who act more thuggish than fair when it comes to conservatives.”

Matt Drudge, founder of the Drudge Report, tweeted on January 23, “They are going after the Obama critics with indictments. VA Gov. Now Dinesh D’souza. Holder unleashing the dogs…”

This is terrifying when you consider the IRS witch hunts and the vast spying powers of the NSA. It will be a cinch to target political dissidents, digging through our emails until they find something they claim is a technical violation of the law. The Obama administration is proving repeatedly that it will use the government to target conservatives. Where does this all stop?

Rachel Alexander

Rachel Alexander is the editor of the Intellectual Conservative. She also serves as senior editor of The Stream.