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Colbert super-PAC to give to charities

Late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert announced Thursday night that he'll donate the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by his political action committee to charities.

Colbert announced that $125,000 would go to the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts being run by Donors Choose, Team Rubicon, and Habitat for Humanity. An additional $125,000 will be sent to the Yellow Ribbon Fund, a charity for injured veterans the comedian has partnered with in the past.

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The remainder of the $773,704.83 under Colbert's control would be split between the Center for Responsive Politics — the organization behind OpenSecrets.org — and the Campaign Legal Center. The CLC, which tracks campaign finance laws, was founded by Trevor Potter, the former McCain campaign general counsel who advised Colbert on creating his super-PAC.

Colbert used the super-PAC throughout the 2012 campaign to satirize outside campaign spending, which allowed limitless outside spending to aid political campaigns. Last month, Colbert announced the organization would be shut down, with money sent to a non-profit 501(c)4 dubbed "Colbert PAC SHH." 

Colbert then funneled the money into another nonprofit, illustrating how campaign cash could be completely shielded from requirements to disclose donors — and spent in any way the director of a super-PAC wanted. 

There were conditions on Colbert's donations, however. The Center for Responsive Politics was asked to rename their conference room the "Colbert Super PAC Memorial Conference Room." And the Campaign Legal Center's meeting space was named the "Ham Rove Memorial Conference Room" after "Ham Rove," the fictionalized character based on George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove, who Colbert described as the "political director" of his super PAC.

"As the tidal wave of money continues to engulf politics and these advocates for transparency are moaning about how powerless they are to stop it, little Ham here will be watching it all unfold with relish — and maybe a little bit of Dijon," Colbert quipped.

Colbert's super-PAC raised more than $1.2 million throughout the 2012 election cycle and even bought air time during the Republican primary in South Carolina to promote Colbert's faux presidential campaign. As recently as last week, Colbert referenced the super-PAC while encouraging South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) to appoint him to the Senate to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).

“You want somebody young, somebody conservative, somebody from South Carolina, maybe somebody who had a super-PAC,” Colbert said, while pointing a finger at himself.

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