Two weeks ago, Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert announced that he was forming his own ColbertPAC for the 2012 elections. This Thursday, he raised the subject again, explaining that he had hoped to "run political ads which -- and this is true -- legally must be produced without the candidates' participation or their permission."
As the audience laughed, Colbert hurried to assure them that "the ads will be fair -- and the bodies I photoshop candidates' heads onto will always be human ... humanoid."
He then announced sadly, however, that a lawyer at Comedy Central's parent company, Viacom, had emailed him to caution that "the FEC would likely see an in-kind donation from Viacom in the event the PAC is ever actually formed. That means you can't form it."
"Well, folks, it's over," he said mournfully. "For the first time ever, someone's dream was ruined by a giant corporation."
But that was not to be the end of ColbertPAC. Former FEC Chairman Trevor Potter then came on to suggest that "there is another approach you could try." He explained that last year's Citizen's United decision allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts on federal elections. All Corbert needs to do is form a SuperPAC instead of a regular PAC.
And so, by the magic of an appropriate cover letter, ColbertPAC was transformed into Colbert SuperPAC and is once again open for business.