Leftist activist and comedian Rosie O’Donnell is facing prosecution and time behind bars after being caught contributing more than the legal limit to five Democratic political candidates while using fake names.
Rosie O’Donnell used four variations of her name and five different New York addresses to make the contributions. According to legal experts, this may show intent to disguise the contributions and get away with the felony of making illegal contributions in the names of others.
Federal Election Commission rules limit contributions to federal candidates to $2,700 per election. Donors can max that out in a primary race, then max it out again during a general election for the same candidate. O’Donnell contributed more than $2,700 each to five candidates during the primary race.
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.
Will Rosie O’Donnell receive a similar punishment for her similar actions? Or will the justice system turn a blind eye to O’Donnell because she is a left-wing activist?
Prosecutors didn’t need to bring charges against D’Souza. Especially not felony charges. Left-leaning Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz saidat 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.”
O’Donnell claims she did not know she had exceeded campaign finance limits. Then why did she use four different versions of her name and five different residential addresses?
The FEC penalties for contributing over the allowed limit and contributing in another’s name are quite similar — they are both fines. If D’Souza’s situation was escalated to criminal prosecution, then how is O’Donnell’s situation any different, if not worse? D’Souza tweeted about O’Donnell, “Five times more egregious than my case. Now let’s see if Lady Justice is truly blind.”