Stephen Colbert’s "super PAC" disclosed Monday night that it has raised more than $1 million. A total of $1,023,121.34, to be precise. The vast majority of it came from individual donors, including Jimmy Carter. Of course, this particular Jimmy Carter lives in San Diego and is not an ex-president, but it’s still an exciting name, no?
A Kennedy – Trevor Kennedy – also sent a few hundred bucks, as did Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of California, and a number of people who listed fake names that are unprintable on a family website.
But here’s our question: Is $1,023,121.34 a lot of money in the world of super political action committees? Is the Colbert organization part of the 1 percent, campaign finance-wise, or part of the 99 percent?
It’s definitely middle class. One million bucks is nothing to be ashamed of, as PACs go. The conservative Club for Growth super PAC has raised about $1.3 million this election cycle, for instance, according to the watchdog group Center for Responsive Finance.
But scroll down the super PAC listings at the Center for Responsive Finance's Open Secrets website and you see that Colbert’s group can’t measure up its checkbook with the big dogs. Consider American Crossroads, a super PAC linked to GOP guru Karl Rove, a frequent Colbert target. (On "The Colbert Report,” the comedian has depicted Mr. Rove as a canned ham wearing glasses.) American Crossroads has raised almost $7 million this election cycle. Is that a canned ham we hear, laughing while its aspic jiggles?
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Then there’s Restore Our Future, a super PAC that supports Mitt Romney. It’s the wealthiest such organization in the current race, having raised more than $12 million this election cycle. That can buy a lot of anti-Gingrich commercials. (We’ve checked – there is no truth to the rumor that Restore Our Future drove to its vacation cottage with its cash strapped to the roof of the car.)
Even Endorse Liberty, the super PAC that endorses Ron Paul, has spent more than $3 million this cycle. That would have bought a lot of zeppelin rides and unicorns.
Zeppelin rides and unicorns are what the Colbert-linked group has pretended to lavish cash on, of course. Colbert has regained control of the organization, by the way, as we predicted he would. He had turned it over to Jon Stewart while he pretended to explore a run for president of South Carolina. When he wanted it back, Stewart held it hostage. Colbert regained his money Monday night after an extended chase scene that traveled through both shows, involved Stewart hiding on the set of “The View” in a wig, and featured ample amounts of great 1970s-era chase-scene music.
On his show, Colbert noted that he had gotten his money back just in time for the Jan. 31 deadline for super PACS to release donor information. Not just his group, but other such independent expenditure groups would now be releasing info, he noted.
“It’s a great day for transparency because tomorrow voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida will finally have the vital information that would have been useful before they voted,” Colbert said.
Yes, you got it – he’s making fun there. That’s why he’s got a super PAC, to comically illuminate the faults and absurdities of the US campaign finance world.