Comedian Stephen Colbert continues to use his super PAC (Political Action Committee) to reveal the apparent joke of campaign finance laws in America. Last night Colbert announced he was forming a sister corporation to his current super PAC, which will now allow him to not only take unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, but also to do so without ever having to reveal his donors.
As Colbert explains, the United States Supreme Court Citizens United decision allowed corporations to donate unlimited amounts of money to PAC’s like American Crossroads, which was formed by former Bush advisor Karl Rove. In the 2010 elections Rove’s PAC spent over $20 million supporting Republican candidates and opposing Democrats. Rove has a goal of raising over $240 million in 2012. However, in order to raise that kind of cash Rove and other PAC’s have had to use some tricky legal maneuvers.
As Colbert’s lawyer, and election law expert, Trevor Potter explains, a super PAC like Rove’s and Colbert’s must disclose who is donating money to their cause. This can serve as a tremendous disincentive for corporations and billionaires to give, since many of their investors may be upset knowing that their money is being used for right or left-wing causes. To get around the disclosure rule, Rove set up a sister corporation called American Crossroads GPS, which is able to take money without disclosing their donors. American Crossroads GPS is then allowed to donate to Rove’s super PAC, American Crossroads, and the donors never have to be revealed.
Upon discovering the “magic” of this legal contraption, Colbert commences to formulate his own sister corporation so that he too can take unlimited amounts of cash without ever disclosing his donors. Colbert’s billionaire guest, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, then becomes the first man to pledge an “anonymous” donation to the Colbert super PAC.