Jon Stewart is really happy with his new position as head of Stephen Colbert’s super political-action committee. But with great power comes great responsibility. Stewart is also very worried and definitely does not want to go to jail!
Recently he heard Mitt Romney say on ‘Morning Joe’ that he (Mitt) can’t coordinate with his own super PAC or he’ll go to the ‘big house.’
Now like I mentioned he doesn’t want to go to jail, “I don’t want to go to jail! I need guidance! Stephen!” – Jon Stewart. It was only matter of seconds that Colbert himself walked on stage. I’ll just fill you in with a few details here. For some time, Colbert had a super PAC, a new kind of political money machine that is allowed to accept unlimited amounts of money from private donors, and spend it on ads, or whatever, in support of its favorite candidates.
The only catch is that the candidates cannot run super PACs themselves. If they did, donations would subject to low Federal Committee limits. Now, we all know that Colbert is planning to run for president of South Carolina and he has turned his super PAC over to Stewart. Now Colbert can definitely not coordinate with Stewart!
It is insanely hilarious how both Stewart and Colbert join in to mock the silver-lining in this coordinating law! The law states that the candidates cannot coordinate with super PACs. That means they cannot request, assent to or suggest any super PAC activities. But the loop-hole, or, as Colbert calls it a ‘loop-chasm’ is that the candidate can talk to his associated super PAC via the media. And obviously the super PAC can listen, like everyone else.
“I can’t tell you [what to do]. But I can tell everyone through television…And if you happen to be watching, I can’t prevent that.” – Colbert on ‘The Daily Show’. To prove the very point, Stewart showed a Newt Gingrich video clip calling on his super PAC to scrub ads attacking Mitt Romney for possible inaccuracies.
The duo then called their lawyer Trevor Potter – who is the attorney for both Colbert’s exploratory committee as well as the super PAC – through the same phone. Stewart told his attorney how he had bought air time in South Carolina, and so on, and Colbert who was also obviously just listening, and who obviously could not coordinate, but smiled or frowned, depending on which city the ad time was in. Columbia, no. Charleston, yes!
They went on to ask their attorney if it was all legal or if the two comedians were pushing the legal envelope and risking jail time?
Trevor responded that everything sounded amazing and that both Colbert and Stewart weren’t doing anything wrong. In fact on asking, Trevor even told them that if they were fined for coordinating (four to six figures) they can use the super PAC money to pay the fine!
Now the important question is which of the GOP candidates are benefiting from the super PAC money? So far the Romney-friendly “Restore Our Future” super PAC has spent about $7.8 million on ads and other pro-Romney activities. According to analyst Michael Beckel, “That’s far more than any other super PAC involved in the 2012 GOP presidential primaries.” The pro-Gingrich “Winning Our Future” has spent about $4.2 million so far. Groups associated with the other candidates have all spent much less, according to CRP.
I have to say, the show is hilariously entertaining. And yet, pin points a very valid loophole in the coordinating law!