Comedian Stephen Colbert is not done with the Federal Election Commission yet.
Hundreds of Colbert’s super-PAC members emailed commission Secretary Shawn Werth to urge more regulation of super-PACs, documents published Wednesday on the commission website show.
The massive amount of comments came after former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove’s super-PAC, American Crossroads, asked if it could use footage of candidates in campaign advertisements.
Super PACs can raise unlimited funds but cannot make contributions to federal candidates or committees, nor are they allowed to coordinate with candidates.
The grassroots response to the Rove request was further facilitated by an email that Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, the Colbert super-PAC, sent to its members, listing the commission’s contact email address.
The large amount of emails the commission has received illustrates the fact that even more Americans are frustrated, this time, with loopholes in the campaign fundraising process. It also shows how translating legalese and connecting individuals outside the Beltway with the right resources can produce more voter action.
“To the increasingly disillusioned voter on the street a super PAC is more or less a gigantic loophole for raising and spending unlimited amounts of money,” commenter Matt Redman said in his comment to the commission. "Why not advise that the law is clear as it stands and declare the matter settled? No could mean no — as it should — if you insist.”
Responses to advisory opinion requests are not uncommon, but a response of this magnitude is rare. Out of four current advisory opinion requests, three have no comments posted and the fourth received just one comment.
An advisory opinion is an “official Commission response to questions regarding the application of Federal campaign finance law to specific factual situations,” according to the FEC website. They are solicited by committees or organizations, generally working with campaign territory.
The range of responders to Rove's request is broad, from individuals citing having earned “an advanced degree” to those who had trouble spelling out their ideas.
Commenter Aaron Michael finished his sarcastic email to the commission with: “May the progress for the sake of the top 1% continue."
Some simply stated “I concur” or “See below,” including the email they received from the Colbert group. Some responses even included the email signature “Sent from my iPhone.”
Colbert submitted his own comment, along with “Ham Rove, Chief Strategist and Lunchmeat,” to the secretary Tuesday. The comment showed his sarcastic endorsement of the American Crossroads advisory opinion request.
The satirical comedian from the Colbert Report and his lunchmeat did offer another option “if the commission does not see fit to grant this request fully.”
“To avoid the appearance of collusion, the F.E.C. could rule that candidates can appear in super PAC ads only against their will,” Colbert said.
"They'd have to be kidnapped, blindfolded, and thrown in a van before being forced to read a statement supporting their goals and then returned to their fundraisers in time for dessert."