Who would have thought a TV talk show host/satirist would prove himself to be smarter and more ethical than most of the people on the U.S. Supreme Court? Well, probably most of us.
See this week’s NYT Magazine for a piece about Stephen Colbert’s ongoing adventures in the slimy world of campaign financing. Phawker excerpted some of the piece on Sunday. Writer Charles McGrath recounts how Colbert helped set up a super PAC called Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, an entity that is…
…entitled to raise and spend unlimited amounts of soft money in support of candidates as long as it doesn’t ‘coordinate’ with them, whatever that means. Of such super-PAC efforts, Colbert said, “This is 100 percent legal and at least 10 percent ethical…”
Watching Colbert on TV last summer was an education for voters who didn’t realize the law is a daunting obstacle to the nomination of candidates who aren’t crooked and/or incompetent. He used his PAC to jab at the fundraising practices of presidential candidate Rick Perry and, in general, at the process of campaign financing, which hit a new low after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010.
McGrath notes that ads sponsored by Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow were “made possible” by the Colbert Super PAC SHH Institute:
…Super PAC SHH (as in “hush”) is Colbert’s 501(c)(4). He has one of those too — an organization that can accept unlimited amounts of money from corporations without disclosing their names and can then give that money to a regular PAC, which would otherwise be required to report corporate donations. “What’s the difference between that and money laundering?” Colbert said…
…Referring to the [Citizens United] ruling that money is speech, and therefore corporations can contribute large sums to political campaigns, Colbert said, “Citizens United said that transparency would be the disinfectant, but (c)(4)’s are warm, wet, moist incubators. There is no disinfectant.”
Footnote: Colbert continued to fight the good fight, in his perverse way, by trying to purchase the right to make the “corporations are people” concept a referendum issue… When McGrath asked him if he’d run for president again, as he did in 2008, Colbert was quick to mimic your typical unctuous politician: “I don’t think you ever say ‘never,'” he said. “That’s a discussion I’ll have to have with my family. I’ll have to pray on it.”