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Crime and punishment

Conservative firebrand Dinesh D'Souza pleads guilty in campaign finance violation

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Longtime conservative author and activist Dinesh D'Souza pled guilty Tuesday to charges that he illegally used "straw donors" — the practice of soliciting others to make donations to a political candidate, and then reimbursing them, in order to evade personal contribution limits.

D'Souza's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 23, USA Today reports.

The charges involved D'Souza having funneled $20,000 to the unsuccessful Senate campaign of Wendy Long, an old friend of his, who in 2012 was the Republican nominee in New York against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. For her part, Long told investigators that D'Souza lied to her about the source of the money.

The actual Senate race in question was never seriously contested by the national parties during the 2012 campaign cycle. Gillibrand won the election with 72 percent of the vote, against Long's 26 percent.

D'Souza has made a name for himself in recent years by charging that President Obama is carrying out an "anti-colonial" agenda, inspired by his late Kenyan father, to tear down America's economic and military power in the world.