The Federal Election Commission, the agency charged with enforcing campaign finance laws, voted 5-1 in favor of allowing Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central's faux pundit on The Colbert Report
, to form his "superPAC"
to raise and spend unlimited funds in the 2012 elections.
The permission comes with a few stipulations, however: Neither Colbert nor Comedy Central's parent company Viacom can promote Colbert's superPAC on any other shows on Comedy Central, and Viacom would have to report any aid it
gives Colbert for political activities outside of Colbert's TV show. Any outside promotion would be considered a political campaign contribution.
After today's FEC hearing, Colbert addressed a crowd of supporters in Washington with his thoughts on the victory, his speech spiced up with the typical blend of extreme patriotism and witty punchlines, these ones even more esoteric than usual:
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Colbert is now a significant leap closer to his goal: To create political campaign ads that are even "less irresponsible" than those being created by the current pool of superPACS. Watch the video below from last night's Colbert Report
for the back story:
Later in the episode, Colbert brought out former FEC chair Trevor Potter, who gave Colbert advice on how to get his superPAC approved at today's hearing.
Promising that his ads will be produced under the motto, "Building a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow," Colbert was otherwise coy during and after the FEC hearing about what, exactly, his superPAC will seek to accomplish. During the hearing, Colbert told the committee, "We don't know what we're going to do with the ads, where we would place
them, because we don't have the PAC yet. You're right in surmising
that. That's why I hope to get the PAC, so we can find out."
There are a few indications that not all his PAC funds will go toward punchlines. "Some have cynically asked if this is some kind of joke," he told the crowd today. "But
I don't think that participating in democracy is a joke. I don't
think that wanting to know what the rules are is a joke."
As shown in his victory speech above, a lack of clear purpose isn't stopping Colbert from taking checks, and other forms of contributions, from supporters: "I don't know about you, but I do not accept limits on my free speech. I
don't know about you, but I do not accept the status quo," he told the
crowd. "But I do accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express."
And so the worlds -- comedy, political and otherwise -- must now wait with bated breath to see what havoc the Stephen Colbert superPAC will wreak. At least we know we'll need to tune in to The Colbert Report,
and only The Colbert Report
, to find out.(Image courtesy of WENN)