Dinesh D’Souza — who made a documentary critical of President Barack Obama and has since been indicted for arranging excessive campaign contributions — says he is just one of many being penalized for criticizing Obama, and says the Founding Fathers would be terrified of what’s happening.
“There seems to have been a pattern of various groups critical of the president all getting inquiries and being subjected to a standard of scrutiny and review that had not been typical,” D’Souza told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.
“The federal government has a great deal of power, and now, with the NSA surveillance, with the government, in a sense, having access to your apps and your emails . . . the Founders would’ve been a little terrified about what this kind of power does to people,” D’Souza said Tuesday.
“Once you give the government this kind of power, what’s going to happen? How is that power going to be used?”
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D’Souza, a conservative commentator and best-selling author who made the 2012 documentary “2016: Obama’s America,” was indicted by a federal grand jury last month on a charge of arranging excessive campaign contributions to an unnamed candidate for the U.S. Senate.
The indictment says that in the summer of 2012, D’Souza reimbursed people whom he had directed to contribute $20,000 to the candidate’s campaign. An attorney for D’Souza contended his actions were “at worst” an act of misguided friendship toward the candidate.
D’Souza, 52, a former policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan and an affiliate of conservative organizations such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, says the indictment will not stop him from speaking out.
“I can’t really discuss the case but I will say I really appreciate the outpouring of support, and I also want people to know that it’s in no way going to inhibit or deter my work,” he said.
“I’ve got a big film coming out this year, coming out for the Fourth of July. It’s just called “America,” and in a way it’s going to pick up the argument from ‘2016.’ It’s not about Obama.
“It’s about something much bigger than Obama, which is our country, but it’s about some of the divisions in our country and the forces that are building America up but also the forces that are pulling us down.”
D’Souza’s film is the second-most successful U.S. documentary, after Michael Moore’s 2004 film “Fahrenheit 9/11.” D’Souza also has written such books as “Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream.”
He told Malzberg he had been warned about criticizing Obama.
“I was warned at the time, be careful, because there’s a little bit of a target on your back when you go out there and make yourself vulnerable in that way,” he said.
“People said, ‘listen, you’ve been a writer and a speaker for 20 years, but the people, the audience who buys books, is a limited market.’
“When you go out there and make a film that actually now has been seen by about 8 million people, you are in a very public way putting yourself on the front line, and I knew that. We’re at a stage in this country where we need to stand up for the values that built this country.”
D’Souza said he will defend himself “vigorously” at his trial as well as promote his new film in a bid to make it the No. 1 documentary of all time.
“We are going to try to give Michael Moore a run for his money with the new film and really try to knock him off his pedestal, so to speak,” he said.
“We’re certainly going to make a better film. We’re going to do our best to promote it, and if the Obama administration wants to help us, then that’s their prerogative.”
D’Souza says Hillary Clinton could be elected Obama’s successor.
“Certainly it looks to me that the baton may pass from Obama to Hillary. I’m not an expert on that; 2016 will be a critical year,” he said.
“Obama has, in a sense, talked at his inauguration about remaking America. That was his phrase, ‘remaking America.’ Well, America’s a big country. It’s not so easy to remake it in just eight years.
“Certainly, if you have 16 years, then you’ve got a much longer time to be able to produce the kind of fundamental change that I believe Obama is after. So, the 2016 election’s very critical.”
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By Bill Hoffmann