Follow The Money

Stephen Colbert Shows How Easy It Is To Game Campaign-Finance Laws

How wacky are U.S. campaign-finance laws? Let Stephen Colbert demonstrate.

On Thursday's Colbert Report the comedian, who has said he wants to be a big political-money player in the 2012 election-cycle, showed how easy it is, with the right Washington lawyer, to game the system.

After learning Viacom was concerned about his running afoul of campaign finance laws if he formed a political action committee, Colbert learned of a workaround, a super pac.

As NPR's Peter Overby reported for the network's newscast:

Colbert has discovered it's the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that makes Colbert Super-PAC possible.

It lets Colbert take unlimited money from individuals, unions and corporations —
including Viacom which owns Comedy Central.

On the show this past week Colbert got help from Trevor Potter, lawyer for John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and a former Federal Election Commission chairman.

POTTER: All you have to do is send a cover letter to the commission, that says this PAC is actually a Super PAC.

COLBERT: Where would I get a letter like that?

POTTER: I happen to have brought one for you.

COLBERT: Oh.

The letter is presumably en route to the FEC.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: