An investigation into conservative author and “2016: Obama’s America” filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza that resulted in his indictment on campaign contribution charges is rebounding on the FBI, with demands from Congress now to know how the investigation was triggered – and other details.
Four members, including Sens. Charles E. Grassley, Jeff Sessions, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, all Republicans, have written to the FBI with a list of questions for the agency to answer.
The indictment was seen in many quarters as political payback for D’Souza’s film, which was harshly critical of Obama during the 2012 election season, and there has been launched by WND an online petition demanding that Congress halt what gives the appearance of political retaliation.
WND has reported that D’Souza has vowed to present a strong defense to the allegations.
The letter from the senators, addressed to FBI Director James Comey Jr., noted that based on what is known so far, the investigation into D’Souza came following a “routine review by the FBI of campaign filings with the FEC of various candidates after the 2012 election.”
The senators explain, “The articles, however, did not provide any details regarding the scope and methodology of these routine reviews. Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz has said, ‘I can’t help but think that [D'Souza's] politics have something to do with it … It smacks of selective prosecution.’ To dispel this sort of public perception that Mr. D’Souza may have been targeted because of his outspoken criticisms of the president, it is important for the FBI to be transparent regarding the precise origin of this investigation.”
The senators listed the questions that the FBI should answer, including “It appears from U.S. attorney’s office comment that the FBI conducts regular, perhaps random reviews of campaign filings. Is this correct? If so, what methodology does the FBI use to conduct these reviews?”
The senators also ask, “Please identify and describe all methods by which a review of campaign filings may be initiated,” and “Please identify all other government entities involved in the FBI’s review of campaign filings and describe their involvement.”
No. 4 is, “How and why was this particular review initiated?”
No. 5 is, “What criteria involved in this particular review led to the suspicion that warranted further inquiry?”
No. 6 is, “What are the guidelines under which the FBI conducts its reviews of Campaign filings?”
No. 7 is, “Please describe how the FBI’s reviews of campaign filings are conducted.”
No. 8 is, “How many campaign filings has the FBI reviewed in each year from 2008 to the present?”
No. 9 is, “On average, how long does it take to complete a review of a campaign filing?”
No. 10 is, “How many agents are assigned, per case, to review campaign filings?”
No. 11 is, “On average, how many man hours are spent reviewing campaign filings?”
No. 12 is, “When did the FBI begin routinely reviewing campaign filings.”
The letter to Comey continued, “During your confirmation hearing, you pledged that you would carry the values of transparency and try to spread them as far as you could within the FBI. To explain the details of these routine reviews and provide context to those who may be skeptical of the origins of this investigation, please provide answers….”
They all were critical of Obama, and suddenly were being contacted by the Internal Revenue Service, or others.
The petition addressed to Congress seeks “an immediate halt to the Obama administration’s reign of ‘payback’ and ‘punishment’ levied against its political opponents, which it regards as ‘enemies’; and a congressional investigation into the administration’s unmistakable and undeniable pattern of political use of the fearsome machinery of government to punish critics and opponents – which is not only grossly illegal and immoral, but profoundly destructive of everything that makes America exceptional and free.”
WND previously reported that Gerald Molen, the producer of D’Souza’s two full-length feature film documentaries, “2016: Obama’s America,” released in 2012, and the about-to-be-released “America,” had characterized D’Souza’s criminal indictment as a Soviet-style “political prosecution.”
“When Dinesh D’Souza can be prosecuted for making a movie, every American should ask themselves one question: ‘What will I do to preserve the First Amendment?’” he said.
D’Souza told WND that Molen, too, was harassed by the Obama administration for his role producing D’Souza’s full-length feature film documentaries.
“Right after ’2016′ came out, Molen got a call from the IRS,” D’Souza said.
“I just think it’s interesting the searchlight fell on him so randomly, so to speak, and so quickly right after. Molen has been around for a long time. He’s made ‘Minority Report’ and ‘Jurassic Park’ and for all this time he escaped scrutiny from the IRS, but then suddenly in a sense, the moment he comes out of the closet as a conservative, boom – ‘Hello, this is your friendly IRS agent calling,’” he said.
D’Souza argued he was prosecuted because his first feature film offended Obama personally, not just because the film represented a political challenge to Obama’s presidential re-election hopes in 2012.
“When ’2016′ came out, I was carefully monitoring what kind of effect if any this would have on Obama, and I don’t just mean on the Obama campaign, I mean on the president himself,” he said. “And for a while, there was dead silence from the Obama campaign. They said nothing about the film. And, in fact, the major media networks followed and acted as if the film didn’t even exist, even though the film was in just about every major theater chain in America.”
In fact, it ranks as among the most popular documentaries ever.
Then D'Souza noticed "2016" was attacked on the Obama campaign website, BarackObama.com.
"You can see it is a very intemperate and almost demented attack on the film. Some of the things that it charges about the film aren't even in the film, although they do appear in my published works. You can see that the film '2016' did kind of unhinge Obama. And I think part of the reason for that is that the film wasn't just a critique of his policies, it delved into his psyche. It kind of got in a way under his skin, I don't mean by just annoying him, I mean by getting into what are the underlying traumatic factors that have driven him into becoming the kind of man that he is."
D'Souza told WND the harassment from the Obama administration began when he was filming "2016" in Africa.
"When we were down in Kenya and we were in the grandmother's compound and we were observing the homestead and the grave, Obama's sister got wind – she's in Nairobi – and she got wind that we were there," he said. "And she immediately called the cops and she called the local chieftains to basically run us out of town. And we had to literally grab our stuff and flee. And we were worried at that time that we would either be apprehended or equally significant that they would confiscate our film."
D'Souza disclosed the film crew established emergency measures to make sure their film footage got out of Kenya should D'Souza and the film crew be detained in the country, or in case the Kenyan government made an attempt to otherwise confiscate the film footage.
"So my point is, it's very clear with the Obama family that these people take this stuff very seriously and they try to run interception where they can," he stressed. "Now, they did not succeed in blocking '2016,' and the film in fact made a big stir in 2012 after being released."
D'Souza told WND his lawyers have a hearing with the federal court in New York to determine when his case will be tried, but he expects the case will go to trial with a 12-member jury, possibly beginning before the scheduled July 4 opening of "America" across the nation.
"Launching a defense in the federal criminal indictment has been every expensive," D'Souza admitted.
"I won't deny that it is traumatic. You have to take it seriously because they are looking to lock you up. So you can't be frivolous about. At the same time, I want to be clear this is not something that has knocked me out for the count. I'm not someone to give in easily on this kind of a thing. I'm determined to continue to speak my mind and do my work."
He explained that "America" was written in part to answer the question, "What is unique about America?"
Answering that question took D'Souza on a historical examination of America's key conflicts, leading back to the challenges that faced our Founding Fathers.
He explained: "I think that the remarkable thing about our debate today is that the left and the right agree there is something unique about America, but the conservatives believe that America in some ways is uniquely good and the progressives led by Obama think that America is uniquely bad – in other words, that American history has been characterized by a unique set of crimes and offenses, that American capitalism is uniquely materialistic and selfish, that American foreign policy is uniquely devoted to plunder. So, we wanted to take on this argument head-on in the film and answer it at the root level."