Late on Thursday, the United States Attorney for Southern New York announced that Dinesh D’Souza has been indicted for alleged illegal donations to an unspecified U.S. Senate campaign, and for making false statements to the Federal Election Commission. The conservative personality could go to prison if convicted: the charge of making illegal campaign donations comes with a maximum sentence of two years in prison. The second charge, making false statements, could result in a maximum sentence of five years in jail, according to the Department of Justice.
In a statement released by the Department of Justice, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:
“As we have long said, this Office and the FBI take a zero tolerance approach to corruption of the electoral process. If, as alleged, the defendant directed others to make contributions to a Senate campaign and reimbursed them, that is a serious violation of federal campaign finance laws.”
The candidate in question is not specified, but the New York Times's David Chen notes that it could be Wendy Long, who ran against Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012. D'Souza donated a total of $5k to Long's campaign, according to the FEC's records. The indictment accuses D'Souza of directing other individuals to make donations to a campaign, after he'd already donated the maximum allowed by law. The donations allegedly made under D'Souza's direction totaled $20,000, according to the release. D'Souza then allegedly reimbursed those donors for the amounts. The false statements charge stems from that alleged.
According to the DOJ, the donations were discovered during "a routine review by the FBI" of FEC filings following the 2012 New York Senate elections.