In a 5-to-1 vote, the FEC decided it’s totally kosher for Stephen Colbert to form a “Super” PAC (Political Action Committee, an entity whose purpose is to raise money to influence elections).
Colbert’s been pursuing this for months in a backhanded critique of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, which basically says that corporate financial donations are “free speech,” and thus any attempt to limit such donations is unconstitutional. The ruling led to the creation of Super PACs, which can raise unlimited amounts from anonymous corporate donors in order to “lobby” politicians.
In Colbert’s case, he’s in effect using the financial might of his corporate parent, Viacom, to advertise and raise money for his PAC on his show. There was some question as to whether a “journalist” like Colbert should be allowed to do this (which only enriched the satire, considering the number of Fox pundits who plug their own Super PACs on-air), but the FEC has granted him the “media exemption” he requested.
Here’s Colbert’s response, via the NYT blog:
“There will be others who say, ‘Stephen Colbert, what will you do with the unrestricted Super PAC money?’ To which I say, I don’t know. Give it to me and let’s find out.”