On May 20, 2014, D'Souza pleaded guilty in federal court to one charge of using a "straw donor" to make an illegal campaign contribution to a 2012 United States Senate campaign, a felony. On September 23, he was sentenced to eight months in a halfway house near his home in San Diego, five years probation, and given a $30,000 fine. On May 31, 2018, D'Souza was issued a full pardon by President Donald Trump.
What’s different about the D’Souza story — like each of the president’s four prior pardons, to Joe Arpaio, Kristian Saucier, Scooter Libby and Jack Johnson — is that the president is reportedly going it alone, issuing his executive reprieves without going through the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney, or following its regulations for pardon applications.
By bypassing the well-settled rules and guidelines for pardons, the president is not just turning his back on a process that is designed to insulate pardons, as much as possible, from being abused for the president’s personal gain; he is ... “sending an extremely clear signal to his confederates and associates with his pardons of politically connected convicts that they will get their reward if they stay strong.” That’s a signal he is unquestionably allowed to send as a constitutional matter, but it’s also a signal that ought to be ringing a lot of alarm bells — especially on Capitol Hill.