The best-selling conservative author pled guilty today to knowingly violating federal campaign donations law. Excerpt:

“I knew that causing a campaign contribution to be made in the name of another was wrong and something the law forbids,” D’Souza, 53, told U.S. District Judge Berman on Tuesday. “I deeply regret my conduct.”

Prosecutors said D’Souza asked two friends and their spouses to contribute $10,000 each to Long’s campaign and then reimbursed them. At the time, campaign finance regulations limited individual donations to a maximum of $5,000 during an election cycle.

One of the friends was Denise Joseph, who was engaged to D’Souza while he was still married to another woman. D’Souza resigned as president of King’s College, a small Christian school in New York City, after the media revealed his relationship with Joseph in 2012.

A sad end to a once-brilliant career. The story goes on to say that “some conservatives” denounced the case against D’Souza as an instance of selective prosecution, going after him for a relatively minor offense as punishment for his scathing anti-Obama books. The Washington Times editorialized:

The Justice Department that would imprison Mr. D’Souza for two years for giving unfair advantage to a friend’s political campaign declined to prosecute members of the New Black Panther Party for threatening white voters with nightsticks at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008. Moreover, Mr. Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was itself fined $375,000 in 2013 for failing to disclose millions of dollars in contributions and missing deadlines for refunding millions in excess contributions. No one was threatened with prison for that. (That was different, of course.)

I have no trouble believing that D’Souza may have been selectively prosecuted. But even if he was, that does not justify his knowingly breaking the law. Does this really have to be explained to conservatives, of all people?  We can’t call for law and order, but carve out special exemptions for our political allies. This is what some on the establishment Right did for Cheney aide Scooter Libby when he was convicted for perjury. Joseph Bottum, for one, denounced conservatives who would not stand up for Libby as cowards. In response, Daniel Larison wrote:

It seems to me that it would require a good deal more courage for a conservative today to stand up and say, “Perjury is a serious crime, and it should be punished whether or not the perjurer is a highly placed Republican administration official.”  All those lectures about the rule of law c. 1998 have to have meant something, or else most of the people calling for Clinton’s impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice (who are now calling for Libby’s pardon) were impressively shameless hypocrites.