Stephen Colbert starts a PAC, FEC smacks him around......

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Trajan, May 19, 2011.

  1. Trajan
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    Trajan conscientia mille testes

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    comedy gold.......;) Colbert gets pwned.


    Stephen Colbert's Free Speech Problem
    The comedian runs up against campaign-finance law in an attempt to lampoon the Supreme Court.


    snip-


    The hilarity began last month, when Mr. Colbert began to have difficulty setting up his PAC, which is a group that can raise money to run political ads or make contributions to candidates. So he called in Trevor Potter, a former Federal Elections Commission (FEC) chairman who is now a high-powered Washington lawyer.

    Mr. Potter delivered some unfunny news: Mr. Colbert couldn't set up his PAC because his show airs on Comedy Central, which is owned by Viacom, and corporations like Viacom cannot make contributions to PACs that give money to candidates. As Mr. Potter pointed out, Mr. Colbert's on-air discussions of the candidates he supports might count as an illegal "in-kind" contribution from Viacom to Mr. Colbert's PAC.

    All was not lost, however. As Mr. Potter explained, the comedian might still be able to set up a "Super PAC," a group that can raise unlimited sums of money as long as it spends it only on independent ads, without donating at all to candidates. Super PACs exist because of another case that proponents of campaign-finance law despise, SpeechNow.org v. FEC.

    snip-

    On May 11, Mr. Potter returned with more bad news: Viacom didn't like Mr. Colbert's plan because his on-air commentary might still amount to a contribution from Viacom to his Super PAC. It's difficult to place a dollar value on airtime, so a reporting mistake could put both Viacom and Mr. Colbert in legal hot water. Isn't campaign-finance law funny?

    snip-

    "Why does it get so complicated to do this? I mean, this is page after page of legalese," Mr. Colbert lamented. "All I'm trying to do is affect the 2012 election. It's not like I'm trying to install iTunes."

    Well, that's pretty much what the nonprofit group Citizens United said to the Supreme Court in the case that Mr. Colbert is trying so hard to lampoon.

    snip-
    . As the Supreme Court noted in Citizens United, federal laws have created "71 distinct entities" that "are subject to different rules for 33 different types of political speech." The FEC has adopted 568 pages of regulations and thousands of pages of explanations and opinions on what the laws mean. "Legalese" doesn't begin to describe this mess.

    So what is someone who wants to speak during elections to do? If you're Stephen Colbert, the answer is to instruct high-priced attorneys to plead your case with the FEC: Last Friday, he filed a formal request with the FEC for a "media exemption" that would allow him to publicize his Super PAC on air without creating legal headaches for Viacom.


    How's that for a punch line? Rich and successful television personality needs powerful corporate lawyers to convince the FEC to allow him to continue making fun of the Supreme Court. Hilarious.
    :lol:


    more at-

    Steve Simpson and Paul Sherman: Stephen Colbert's Free Speech Problem - WSJ.com
     
  2. Truthmatters
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    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH


    You and the author dont understand what he is doing do you?


    Give it some more time and you will see what the man is up to.


    He is teaching Americans about the laws by making the laws show how they work.

    Once he has his superpack in line maybe even you will understand the impact of the law.
     
  3. Truthmatters
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    Im going to be loving the results
     
  4. Trajan
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    Trajan conscientia mille testes

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    hello-
    put a human or a 'smart breed' behind the KB please...
     
  5. Trajan
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    Trajan conscientia mille testes

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    you have already missed the point then....



    *sigh* I really must discipline myself and put you on ignore....
     
  6. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Really? Because it sounds like he's going to be challenging some campaign finance laws on the basis of free speech and press. You had a coniption fit when the Supreme Court struck down the McCain Fiengold laws in Citizens United. I don't think youll be happy if people can speak freely. You just have a history of opposing it.
     
  7. JBeukema
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  8. Truthmatters
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    Honestly, it's difficult to think of a reason why this request won't be granted under current campaign finance law. Stephen Colbert has these First Amendment rights, and Viacom can make such contributions as a legitimate press activity. So can KosMedia LLC, for that matter. Or Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, at which point this may stop seeming so funny ...

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/05/17/976495/-Colberts-trip-to-the-FEC-is-not-a-joke
     

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