By Stefan M. Kløvning
Washington, Politics – The New York Post revealed this Saturday that liberal comedian Rosie O’Donnell has on several occasions surpassed the legal limit for campaign donations of $2,700. Rosie O’Donnell has been known as the arch-nemesis of President Donald Trump after he infamously responded to an accusation that he insults women he doesn’t like with her being the only one subjected to it. She paid at least $4,700 to Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, $4,600 to Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb, $2,950 to California Rep. Adam Schiff, $4,200 to Lauren Underwood and $3,450 to Omar Vaid. When asked how much she gave to Vaid, she says “no idea.” She donated a total of $5,600 above the legal limit to five individual candidates. For the donations, she used five different addresses and four different versions of her name, according to the Post.
She justifies this by proclaiming that the people she overdonates to should just return the money exceeding the limit, transferring the responsibility of her actions to those affected by it. “I don’t look to see who I can donate the most to,” she says, “I just donate assuming they do not accept what is over the limit.”
Republican author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, who himself has been indicted for breaking this law, has been strongly critical of O’Donnell’s donations, claiming there to be a double standard in the justice system on the issue by having a bias towards the Democratic Party. D’Souza served 5 years probation, 8 months in a community confinement center, and had to pay a $30,000 fine as punishment for donating $20,000 to Senate Republican Windy Long in 2012 through a straw-donor. D’Souza admitted to having behaved in an uncareful manner but reasoned that this was only a one-instance case, whereas O’Donnell has done it several times. It was the first time he made a campaign donation, and it was for his old friend from college, he argues. He also says that the court highlighted the fact that he was the director of the anti-Obama movie ‘Obama’s America’ and an outspoken controversial Republican thinker, and opined that it shows that they had a plan to take him down because of that, rather than his having the opportunity of getting a fair trial. He thinks this will be ‘trial’ of whether the justice system is acting according to bias or justice.
What’s puzzling in this case, however, is that prominent D.C. Campaign Finance Lawyer Jan Witold Baran claimed that ‘campaigns generally are not penalized for isolated contributions over a limit,’ and that they are rarely fined for excess contributions except if they hide the donations from the recipient. D’Souza’s contribution of $20,000 exceeded the limit quite a bit, but his sentence looks unintuitive compared to the extent of the donation. If they exceed the limit multiple times, Baran says, they may get a fine, but usually, isolated cases don’t get punished. D’Souza had to pay 150% to the state of what he donated, and serve in jail for over 5 years.
Now that there actually is an instance where the limit has been exceeded several times, and by a person on the other side of the political spectrum, is the time to see whether there is any hypocrisy in the American legal system.