Frankly I think he’s funnier than Jon and more on point too. Friday he took his case to the Federal Election Commission. On Wednesday he talked about it on his show.
Stephen Colbert at the FEC? Really.
By KENNETH P. VOGEL, Politico
5/13/11 9:54 PM EDT
Technically, the request(
s) asks the commission whether the airtime and other costs associated with any shows on which he promotes his hypothetical PAC would be considered a contribution from Comedy Central’s parent company, Viacom, or whether they would be exempted from campaign finance rules and disclosure requirements.
That so-called media exemption allows newspapers, blogs, radio show hosts and others considered media to urge votes for or against candidates.
So, as Colbert explained Wednesday “I did the right thing and I exploited a loophole,” adding “there is critical legal distinction between a PAC and a super PAC. One has the word ‘super’ in its name. So I took Colbert PAC and I made it Colbert super PAC.”
Yet, Viacom’s lawyers balked at that solution as well, Colbert said, declaring in overstated exasperation “I hate my parent company! They never let me do anything. Everyone else’s parents companies let them do it. Karl Rove is a paid employee of Fox News and he gets to talk about his Super PAC, American Crossroads all the time.”
Potter explained to Colbert that Viacom is likely skittish that if their airtime or administrative costs are “counted as a contribution, they would have to show it on the FEC reports. There might be a complaint or an investigation about whether they showed enough and they would have to turn over their internal bookkeeping and potentially reveal Viacom secrets.”
“Why wouldn’t they (the FEC, take me seriously)?” he responded. “I’m making an actual request. I want to find out whether I actually have to list Viacom and the fact that I have a show as a gift in-kind. And if I don’t, I can’t wait to use the resources of my show.”
If nothing else, it could help the cause of campaign finance advocates by highlighting the ability of corporations to spend unlimited amounts to support or oppose candidates, and – as Lisa Gilbert of Public Citizen describes it – expose “the clear conflict of interest that Fox media has as they allow political figures to promote their PACs on a supposedly neutral media outlet.”