Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, whose documentary 2016: Obama’s America took a critical look at President Barack Obama and was a surprise hit in 2012, will be arrested in New York on Friday for allegedly violating campaign-finance laws, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Federal authorities accuse D’Souza of donating more than is legal to the campaign of Wendy Long, who ran in 2012 for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton but lost to now-Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Long, though, is not mentioned in an indictment obtained by THR on Thursday.
Insiders say D’Souza has been friends with Long since they attended Dartmouth College together in the early 1980s. According to the indictment, D’Souza donated $20,000 to Long’s campaign by aggregating the money from various people and falsely reporting the source of the funds. But Gerald Molen, a co-producer of 2016, says the charge is politically motivated.
“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,” Molen tells THR.
D’Souza first learned he was being investigated in the middle of 2013, several months after 2016 had earned $33 million at the box office and become the second-most-popular political documentary in U.S. history. The film included an interview with Obama’s half-brother, George Obama, who was mildly critical of the president.
Molen says D’Souza is being singled out for “an alleged minor violation” in the same way the IRS reportedly targeted conservative Tea Party groups for retribution. “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,” Molen says.
D’Souza was in San Diego working on his next film and book, each to be called America, when he was informed he was about to be indicted and that he should fly to New York and turn himself in to authorities. The indictment came late Thursday, according to those with knowledge of the situation.
Maybe that long tradition is ending. Maybe not. But then there is the case of conservative activist James O’Keefe being investigated by the state of New York.
Conservative activist James O’Keefe is accusing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s administration of targeting his group with document requests and a subpoena, claiming the Democratic governor’s recent comments critical of conservatives “aren’t simply words.”
O’Keefe, whose Project Veritas is behind a series of hidden-camera investigations against left-leaning groups and causes, made the claims on the heels of the controversy over a recent Cuomo interview. In it, Cuomo blasted “extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay” and said they “have no place” in New York. He later walked back his remarks, and said they were being taken out of context in the media.
But O’Keefe claimed that Cuomo’s government is acting on those words, revealing that the Department of Labor has hit his office in Westchester County, N.Y., with demands for financial documents for months. He compared it to IRS targeting of conservative groups nationwide.
Reached for comment, the Department of Labor said it was a routine request and a routine process.
“Every business that files in the State of New York that uses independent contractors is required by law to submit additional information to ensure that all workers are classified appropriately as either employees or independent contractors…” the department said in a statement.
“This helps to ensure workers receive coverage under unemployment law and businesses are not faced with unexpected charges at a future date if an individual files a claim against them.
“In this instance, as we did in 3,500 cases last year alone, the Department of Labor sought this additional information. After receiving no response, DOL issued follow up letters and phone calls. After 6 months of not receiving a response, as a matter of protocol, DOL issued subpoenas to obtain the requested information.”
For his part, O’Keefe said in a statement, “Governor Cuomo’s shocking words this past week aren’t simply words. Governor Cuomo and the New York Department of Labor are on a witch hunt, demanding all documents and financials since our founding. … His goal, of course, is to harass us and limit our effectiveness by tying us up in court. Just like President Obama used the IRS to target and suppress conservatives, Governor Cuomo is using his Department of Labor to do the same exact thing.”
O’Keefe, who repeatedly has been accused of deceptive practices by liberal groups, has built a reputation as a conservative provocateur. His hidden-camera investigations contributed to the downfall of advocacy group ACORN. With Project Veritas, his group continues to expose alleged fraud and misbehavior with the federal health care law, green jobs programs and more.
In accusing New York state of targeting the organization, Project Veritas released a subpoena issued on Jan. 9 from the Department of Labor. The document orders representatives from the organization to show up on Jan. 28 with a slew of documents, ranging from Social Security returns to unemployment insurance returns to check stubs.
The group claims its finances are “meticulously maintained to the penny” and calls the inquiries “meritless.” A statement said Project Veritas would be relocating to New Jersey.
Further, the group claimed that it complied with an earlier document request and showed up for a scheduled meeting on Dec. 13, but state labor officers “never showed up.”
“Just like the IRS, they are simply intimidating and targeting us,” Project Veritas said in a statement, while also trying to raise money off the allegations.
Surely, they are not. It must be a coincidence that the IRS is investigating Hollywood conservatives.
On Thursday, Megyn Kelly of Fox News reported on a developing story out of tinseltown where the group Friends of Abe — a networking group for Hollywood conservatives — had allegedly been targeted by the IRS.
The report began with Fox west-coast anchor, Trace Gallagher, who stated the following:
The group is called ‘Friends of Abe’, named after Abraham Lincoln, and its made up of 1500 conservative members of the entertainment industry. They gather for things like meals, drinks, and to learn about the political process. It is now seeking 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, so that donations could be tax deductible just like some progressive groups. Getting the exemption would prohibit the group from partisan activity. Now ‘Friends of Abe’ acknowledges having speakers like Karl Rove and Herman Cain, but they deny having a political agenda. ‘Friends of Abe’ says it doesn’t just suspect they were being targeted by the IRS, they say they were told they’re being targeted by the IRS.
Friends of Abe Executive Director and TruthRevolt Managing Editor Jeremy Boreing provided the following comment:
We understand through our attorneys that our agent at the IRS who was handling our file, specifically said we had been targeted on the BOLO list. So I think that probably the reason we’re being targeted is we filed as a conservative educational fellowship.
The struggle for 501(c)(3) status went on for nearly three years with no answer from the IRS. In the ensuing struggle, the group also received repeatedly very private questions about their members identities. In regards to the privacy violations, Boreing stated:
If we were the local chapter of the Lion’s Club, we would protect the privacy of our members. People who join the organization are not seeking publicity. We’re not advocating for anything. We’re not trying to accomplish any objective politically or even from a Hollywood business point of view.
The IRS has not yet commented on this revelation. Friends of Abe prefers to keep its members private for fear they will be blacklisted in what is generally considered a left-leaning industry.
Which might be why the IRS would like to know who its members are. Well, people wanted hope and change. I guess we have the change, though not in a direction I would like to see.
- Cuomo proves he’s serious about conservatives; Attacks Project Veritas (grumpyelder.com)
- Cuomo Sics Bureaucracy on James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas (moonbattery.com)
- The New Progressive McCarthyism (askmarion.wordpress.com)
- A Lot of Targeting of Conservatives and Obama Opposition Goin’ On Out There… (theuniversalspectator.wordpress.com)