7:47pm

Fri April 15, 2011
It's All Politics

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.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.