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What did Stephen Colbert super PAC spend its money on?

The Stephen Colbert super PAC, 'Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow,' has reported raising more than $1 million, quite a lot for satire, and shelling out more than $150,000.

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The Colbert super PAC web site offers for sale a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “Turtles don’t like peanut butter.” No, we don’t know what that means, but whatever it is, the on-line shop notes the shirt “is not available in turtle-neck.”

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The costs connected with this little enterprise are considerable. Adding up design, production, and storage and on-line order handling, last year the super PAC laid out about $10,569 related to T-shirts. We think it’s defensible to say Colbert is running a donor-supported shirt business as opposed to a super PAC. (That would be legal, in case you’re wondering.)

Political ads 

Ads, on the other hand, weren’t the biggest expenditure category, strictly speaking, though we bet a lot of the “Posse” money (see above) went into their creation. The FEC filing lists a total of $5,930 paid directly to Iowa television stations in 2011 to broadcast Colbert-produced satirical ads, such as the one that urged Iowans to vote for “Rick Parry, with an ‘A.’ ”

The super PAC also listed $5,350 paid to “Media Ad Ventures,” a Springfield, Va., political ad consultancy that specializes in production and ad placement.

Genial on-screen lawyer sidekick

Trevor Potter, a former chief of the FEC, has figured prominently in episodes of 'The Colbert Report" dealing with the super PAC. He provides on-screen legal advice with trademark geniality, smiling as he basically tells Colbert that, yes, folks can channel all the money they can afford into the political system, without divulging their identities.

But avuncular does not come cheap. The FEC report lists $6,049.61 paid to Caplin and Drysdale, Mr. Potter’s firm.


Think the Internet is free? Think again. Funny websites don’t come cheap. Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow sent $6,760 to Electric Pulp in Sioux Falls, S.D., to build its website. Sioux Falls? We’d probably better not say anything snarky – we’ve got relatives living out that way.

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