Brad Smith, a past FEC chairman who now heads the Center for Competitive Politics, which advocates for less campaign finance regulation, also counts himself a fan of Colbert’s campaign finance jokes in the past, but thinks that this year, he’s off base.
“I think his super PAC stuff has largely been misleading the public,” he said. “He’s giving very misleading impressions about how disclosure obligations work, and he’s given a misleading understanding about why there are rules about coordination in politics.”
The rule banning coordination is “intended to prevent campaign contributions from being essentially a substitute for bribery,” he said, and is not really as ridiculous as Colbert and Stewart try to make it seem.
More broadly, he takes issue with those who look at Citizens United as some kind of cataclysmic event.
“You had unlimited money before. You always had unlimited money in politics. Prior to Citizens United, [Newt Gingrich super PAC backer] Sheldon [Adelson] could have gone out and spent the money himself,” he said. “There’s this belief that this is creating some big, huge difference in the system, and it’s really not.”
But the campaign finance reform community is thrilled to have what they see as an ally who can reach new audiences.
Because they share his agenda, the left-wing media loves what Colbert is doing and the fact that Colbert is cloaking his anti-free speech crusade in satire means the media feels no obligation to expose his falsehoods.
Devious but genius teamwork, don’t you think?