Left-wing activist and comedian Rosie O’Donnell has been caught contributing more than the legal limit to five Democratic political candidates. She used four variations of her name and five different New York addresses to make the contributions. This may show intent to disguise them.
The offense is punishable by large fines from the FEC. The FEC can also choose to let a donor move an excess donation from a primary race into the general election or refund it. It doesn’t have to impose the full amount of the fines, and it certainly does not have to criminally prosecute the individual.
O’Donnell’s contributions are similar to what conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza did during the 2012 election cycle. He asked two friends and their spouses to contribute $10,000 each to a congressional campaign, then he reimbursed them. Prosecutors chose to bring charges against him, and he ended up pleading guilty to the felony of making illegal contributions in the names of others. He was sentenced to eight months in a halfway house, five years probation and a $30,000 fine.
But prosecutors didn’t need to bring charges against him. Especially not felony charges. Left-leaning Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz said at the time, “I can’t help but think that [Mr. D’Souza’s] politics have something to do with it… . It smacks of selective prosecution.” Dershowitz told Newsmax, “This is clearly a case of selective prosecution for one of the most common things done during elections, which is to get people to raise money for you. If they went after everyone who did this, there would be no room in jails for murderers.”
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