Former College President Indicted In Manhattan Federal Court For Campaign Finance Fraud
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today an Indictment charging DINESH D’SOUZA with violating the federal campaign finance laws by making illegal contributions to a United States Senate campaign in the names of others and causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission in connection with those contributions. D’SOUZA is expected to be presented and arraigned tomorrow in Manhattan federal court before U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “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.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos stated: “Trying to influence elections through bogus campaign contributions is a serious crime. Today, Mr. D’Souza finds himself on the wrong side of the law. The Federal Election Campaign Act was written to limit the influence of money in elections; the FBI is fiercely committed to enforcing those laws to maintain the integrity of our democratic process.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment and statements made in court:
The Federal Election Campaign Act (the “Election Act”) is designed to limit financial influence in the election of candidates for federal office, including the Office of United States Senator, and provides for the public disclosure of the financing of federal election campaigns. In particular, the Election Act limits the amount and source of money that may be contributed to a federal candidate or that candidate’s authorized campaign committee. The Election Act specifically prohibits any person from making any contribution in the name of another, including reimbursing a third person, before or after that third person’s contribution, as inducement to make that contribution. The Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) is an agency and department of the United States with jurisdiction to compile and publicly report accurate information about the sources and amounts of election contributions.
In 2012, the Election Act limited both primary and general election campaign contributions to $2,500 for a total of $5,000 from any individual to any one candidate. In August 2012, D’SOUZA directed other individuals with whom he was associated to make contributions to the campaign committee for a candidate for the United States Senate (the “Campaign Committee”) that totaled $20,000. D’SOUZA then reimbursed those individuals for the contributions. By directing the illegal contributions to be made, D’SOUZA also caused the Campaign Committee to falsely report to the FEC the sources and amounts of those contributions to the campaign.
D’SOUZA, 52, of San Diego, California, is charged with one count of causing $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions to be made to a candidate for the United States Senate in calendar year 2012, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. He also is charged with one count of causing false statements to be made to the FEC in connection with the illegal campaign contributions, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The Indictment is the result of a routine review by the FBI of campaign filings with the FEC by various candidates after the 2012 election for United States Senator in New York. Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI.
This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Carrie H. Cohen and Rebecca Ricigliano are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.