Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) released a satirical video on Thursday that urges Americans to support the DISCLOSE Act by attacking comedian Stephen Colbert and his super PAC.
"Stephen Colbert used to be my friend," she says in the video. "I even signed the poor baby's cast when he hurt his hand. But since the day he started his super PAC, taking secret money from special interests, he’s been out of control. Even using his super PAC to attack my friend Newt Gingrich."
The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in January 2010 gave rise to super PACS, officially known as independent-expenditure only committees. The groups can raise an unlimited amount of money to influence federal elections, so long as they do not directly coordinate with a candidate’s campaign.
The super PACs quickly outpaced old-fashioned PACs, which can only accept annual donations of $5,000 or less and give a maximum of $5,000 per election to candidates and another $15,000 to political parties. Super PACs have also exploited a loophole that allows them to postpone the disclosure of their donors until after the elections they participate in.
Colbert has formed his own super PAC, the The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC, previously known as Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. The organization has produced ads telling Iowans to write-in "Rick Parry" instead of Rick Perry, accusing Mitt Romney of being a serial killer and urging South Carolina to vote for Herman Cain.
"And if that weren’t enough, I hear he doesn’t even like kittens," Pelosi continues in her ad. "Colbert must be stopped. I’m Nancy Pelosi, and I support this ad, because Americans deserve a better tomorrow today. Join me in stopping Colbert and creating a new politics free of special interest money. The first step is passing the DISCLOSE Act."
The DISCLOSE Act of 2010 was blocked by a Republican filibuster in the Senate.
But on Thursday, Rep. Chris Van Hollen and other Democrats introduced the DISCLOSE 2012 Act. The bill would require super PACs to list their top five donors in each ad and have the top official of the group appear in the ad to take responsibility for the it.
The legislation would also require corporations to disclose their campaign expenditures to their shareholders, and require lobbyists to disclose their campaign expenditures.
"The American people deserve a political system that is fair, transparent, and accountable," Van Hollen said in a statement. "They have a right to know who is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to influence them. That is why House Democrats are introducing the DISCLOSE 2012 Act. The bill is a first step to clean up the secret money in politics, and it will promote transparency and disclosure of the funds being used to influence our political process."
Watch Pelosi's video, uploaded to YouTube on February 9, below: