Posted Friday, May 13, 2011, at 4:44 PM
See the guy with the nice coif and purple tie, pumping his fist from the steerage of an SUV? That's Stephen Colbert, who just left the Federal Election Commission after filing paperwork for his Colbert Super PAC.
The backstory, told by Ken Vogel, is here .
[H]e is asking 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.
If the six-member commission takes Colbert’s request seriously, and decides to grant him wide latitude in using "The Colbert Report" to promote his PAC – both very big ifs – it "could have a sweeping effect. That would be a troubling development," said Paul Ryan, a lawyer at the Campaign Legal Center, a non-profit group that pushes for tighter restrictions on money in politics.
"Ben gave me $10, and I made a promise to Ben that I would find a way to spend that money," said Colbert. "Will you find a way to help me keep that promise to all the other Bens out there?"
"God bless you!
"I love you!"
"I will now shake your hands for $1 apiece!"
"What do we get for $20?"
He moved toward his SUV, with dozens of outstretched, dollar-clutching fists marking the path.
(Photo by David Weigel.)