Jan 02

Trevor Potter on How Stephen Colbert Schooled Americans in Campaign Finance

Trevor Potter on The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart

When I speak at law schools, I am always asked about the Colbert Super PAC “Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow” and its sibling 501(c)(4), “Colbert Super PAC Shhh.” Almost every time, someone asks, “How did you and Stephen Colbert plan the story line of his coverage of money in politics?”

The assumption at law schools, where law professors create a course by designing a complete blueprint for each subject, is that Stephen’s two years of on-air legal conversations on money and politics issues were planned and scripted in advance. Stephen certainly offered the American public a course in modern campaign finance law, but there never was a master plan for the discovery of the American campaign finance system’s peculiarities. Instead, our serial discussion evolved in wonderful spontaneity, appropriate to Stephen’s belief in the power of improvisation. One conversation simply led logically to another—unless Stephen got that wild look in his eyes and said “What if I did…?” (like “run for President of South Carolina”), and then the dialogue took an unexpected turn.

Full Article: TIME.com

Jun 03

New Study Finds that Stephen Colbert is More Effective than News Sources at Explaining Campaign Financing

A new report warns just how much this country stands to lose when Stephen Colbert shutters his Comedy Central late-night show to take over for David Letterman at CBS. According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center, viewers of The Colbert Report who watched Colbert set up a super PAC and 501(c)(4) organization during the last presidential election cycle were better informed about campaign financing and the role of money in politics than viewers of actual news channels and other, actual-news shows.

“It’s the first study actually showing that Colbert is doing a better job than other news sources at teaching people about campaign financing,” crowed Bruce W. Hardy, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a senior researcher at the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania. “Consistently, we found that Colbert did better than every other news source we included in our model.”

The published study tested The Colbert Report against CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and broadcast nightly news — as well as talk radio and newspapers – as sources of political information. The study, appropriately called Stephen Colbert’s Civics Lesson, was based on phone survey data from 1,232 adults 18 years or older who were interviewed between Dec. 13, 2012 and Dec. 23, 2012.

Full Article: Dealine.com

Full Study: Stephen Colbert’s Civics Lesson: How Colbert Super PAC Taught Viewers About Campaign Finance

Mar 02

Stephen Colbert Asks the IRS for Permission to Testify on “Dark Money” Groups

Stephen Colbert at the FEC

(AP Photo | Alex Brandon)

Comedian Stephen Colbert, whose gags have pointed out the absurdity of U.S. campaign finance laws since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, asked the IRS Thursday for permission to testify on proposed rules governing the political activity of social welfare nonprofits.

Colbert said in a comment filed with the IRS that the proposed rules “raise serious constitutional and legal issues” for social welfare nonprofits. These organizations have become known as “dark money” groups, because they allow political operatives to spend money on electoral activity without having to disclose donors.

Stephen Colbert Comment to IRS

Mar 23

Stephen Colbert Assists in Dedication of Ham Rove Memorial Conference Room at Campaign Legal Center

Ham Rove Memorial Conference Room

© The Campaign Legal Center

This evening, the Campaign Legal Center officially dedicated the Ham Rove Memorial Conference Room, with an assist from comedian Stephen Colbert, in order to meet the sole condition for accepting a generous check from the Ham Rove Memorial Fund. The popular host of Comedy Central’s Colbert Report provided videotaped remarks (link below) for the occasion and personally donated a life-sized portrait of himself, which now hangs at the Legal Center.

The Ham Rove Memorial Fund was created by Mr. Colbert with money he raised though his Colbert Super PAC. Legal Center President Trevor Potter, through his private law practice, was a frequent guest on the show serving as Mr. Colbert’s attorney and explaining the intricacies of campaign finance and tax law. Mr. Potter helped to create the Colbert Super PAC, the related 501(c)(4) Colbert Super PAC SHH and ultimately the Ham Rove Memorial Fund where the hundreds of thousands of dollars from Colbert Super PAC had vanished in November 2012 without a trace, courtesy of loopholes in the IRS regulations.

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Dec 19

The Ham Rove Memorial Conference Room Plaque.

The Ham Rove Memorial Conference Room

© Campaign Legal Center

Stephen Colbert’s Ham Rove Memorial Fund Makes Generous Contribution to Campaign Legal Center
Conference Room to be Named in Honor of the Late Ham Rove

Last night, Stephen Colbert announced on the Colbert Report that the Ham Rove Memorial Fund had made a grant of more than $135,000 to the Campaign Legal Center. A condition of the grant requires that the Legal Center name its conference room The Ham Rove Memorial Conference Room. The staff at the Legal Center is already referring to the room by its new name and look forward to dedicating the conference room and bringing the space into full compliance with the condition as soon as the plaque arrives.

“We vow to do our best to ensure that groups like Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Colbert Super PAC SHH will not be able to get away with their anonymous shell game shenanigans in future election cycles,” said Legal Center President Trevor Potter. “We are also delighted that the Ham Rove Memorial Fund made a similar contribution to our friends at the Center for Responsive Politics for the invaluable service they provide in tracking money in our political system.”

Source: Campaign Legal Center.

Dec 19

The Colbert SuperPAC Memorial Conference Room Plaque.

The Colbert SuperPAC Memorial Conference Room Plaque

© Center for Responsive Politics

We at the Center for Responsive Politics are pleased to announce that our previously nameless gathering place for staff meetings, interviews with reporters and celebrations of all kinds now has an identity: the Colbert Super PAC Memorial Conference Room.

The renaming was made possible by a generous, and unsolicited, grant of $136,000 from the Ham Rove Memorial Fund. Before it was laundered — whoops, we mean “transferred” through a series of perfectly legal maneuvers — the money originated with comedian Stephen Colbert’s super PAC, Americans For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. Ham Rove was, well, a ham that Colbert claimed was the super PAC’s chief adviser.

The only string attached is the renaming of the conference room, which will become official with the hanging of a plaque provided by Colbert. Frankly, the room needed a little personality.

Source: Open Secrets.

Nov 21

A Look Back: The Life and Times of Ham Rove

Colbert News Hub A Look BackWelcome to “A Look Back,” where we review and celebrate select clips from the overwhelmingly voluminous video catalog and the many splendid works of Stephen T. Colbert over the years.

This past week the Report saw a savage end to a truly delicious political strategist, Ham Rove. More than just a ham loaf with wire rimmed glasses, Ham Rove was introduced to our homes and hearts as the doppelganger of his less forthcoming counterpart, Karl Rove. In this Look Back we highlight Ham Rove’s best moments.

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Jul 05

The Pitt PAC Diaries.

Stephen Colbert and Pitt PAC

Daniela Aizpitarte, Ben Zaczek, Justine Buchman and Dan Stough.

This spring, funnyman and political shtickmeister Stephen Colbert launched a nationwide treasure hunt to poke fun at Political Action Committees, or super PACs.

The Super PAC Super Fun Pack Treasure Hunt pitted participants in a battle of wits to crack a code using elaborate clues.

“When you first looked at it, it kind of looked like a lot of garbage,” said 22-year-old Daniela Aizpitarte of Eagle, one member of a four-person team from the University of Pittsburgh that cracked the code. “But as you picked through it with a fine-toothed comb, you found some interesting things. We just started amassing all the clues.”

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