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Colbert on Campaign Finance: ‘I Am a Super PAC and So Can You’

The Federal Election Commission told comedian Stephen Colbert Thursday that he can use his television program’s resources to support his political action committee — known as a Super PAC — but some major expenses must be disclosed.

The faux newsman made a return trip to Washington to talk politics and policy.

Politico reports of the FEC decision: “Commissioners clearly took Colbert’s request seriously, brokering a compromise deal Wednesday night that narrowed the scope of their ruling by specifying that only ads aired on networks other than Comedy Central would trigger campaign finance rules and disclosure requirements.”

Watch Colbert’s remarks to reporters after the meeting in Washington:

Thursday’s Morning Line had the details:

Political satirist Stephen Colbert will again force serious people in Washington, D.C., to take him seriously when he appears at a Federal Election Commission hearing Thursday about his proposed political action committee that could have actual consequences for campaign finance rules.

Colbert wants to use his Comedy Central television show, “The Colbert Report,” to promote the work of his political action committee, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and individuals and spend that money on “independent expenditures” in order to influence elections. This means that ads or other communications purchased with PAC money can’t be coordinated with a candidate’s campaign or political party.

> This new type of political action committee, known as a Super PAC, is possible thanks to recent court rulings, including the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, that eliminated some significant campaign finance restrictions.

Watch Colbert talk with former FEC Chairman Trevor Potter about his strategy to form the Super PAC to take advantage of the new rulings here.

The FEC will decide whether Colbert talking about his PAC on a show owned by Viacom counts as a donation to the PAC. You can read Colbert’s request for a ruling from the FEC here.

As the Business Insider pointed out, the FEC ruling could have a big impact on Fox News if it rules against Colbert. Fox News contributors like Karl Rove and Sarah Palin have PACs they discuss on the air.

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