Sunday, October 26, 2014
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Colbert gets his PAC, and that's not funny

If humorist Stephen Colbert's petition to the Federal Election Commission to start a super political action committee had been rejected, Americans might have rested a bit easier over the amount of influence that big corporations and unions can have over national elections.

Colbert gets his PAC, and that's not funny

If humorist Stephen Colbert's petition to the Federal Election Commission to start a super political action committee had been rejected, Americans might have rested a bit easier over the amount of influence that big corporations and unions can have over national elections.

But now that that his petition to start a super PAC has been accepted, people can look forward to biting satire from Colbert about the amount of corporate support some politicians may receive.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions can contribute an unlimited amount to elections. Since 2010, more than 100 super PACs have cropped up with the aim of raising big money from such wealthy donors, the only caveat being that they can't coordinate election strategy with a candidate or political party.

Colbert pounced on the chance to exploit and lampoon these organizations by submitting an application to form the Colbert Super PAC, which would theoretically allow Comedy Central owner Viacom to contribute resources (such as production equipment) to air advertisements created by Colbert. Now, however, things aren't so theoretical -- and other corporations (such as FOX News, which has employed politicians such as Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich) may follow in Colbert's facetious footsteps.

Granted, the FEC did not give Colbert full rein. Viacom would have to report any help it lends Colbert outside of his TV show, "The Colbert Report." Still, if similar rules were to apply to other media companies with a more influential reach, some candidates could receive a major advantage. Had the FEC realized the drastic consequences of this and ruled otherwise, Colbert might be significantly less funny about PAC money, but that’s preferable to having the impact of individual campaign contributions being drowned by corporate money.

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