A political group established as a joke is seriously spending money on the Republican presidential primary in South Carolina.
The super PAC created by Comedy Central comedian Stephen Colbert spent $21,600 on an ad Sunday attacking former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, documents filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Monday show.
The ad calls Mr. Romney a “serial killer,” a play on his contention that “corporations are people, my friend” and his time at the helm of Bain Capital, a venture capital firm under which companies were sometimes dismantled.
Mr. Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” created the political action committee, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, to highlight lax campaign finance laws — a cause that apparently resonated with listeners enough to spur some actual donations.
Determined to push the envelope even further, Mr. Colbert has announced plans to explore a presidential run himself, a move that incidentally would force him to abandon ties to the fundraising group. Super PACs, which can raise unlimited funds, including from corporations and unions, were created through a series of 2010 court rulings that hinge on their independence from candidates.
The joke may be on the Supreme Court, however: A super PAC supporting Mr. Romney, which has raised and spent millions from Mr. Romney’s associates in the financial sector, is helmed by longtime advisers who served as official campaign aides during his 2008 run. Independent groups supporting his rivals, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, have similar ties to the candidates.
Perhaps to that end, Mr. Colbert has ceded control of his super PAC to comedy partner Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.”
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Luke Rosiak is a projects reporter on The Washington Times’ investigative team. He formerly covered lobbying and campaign finance for two watchdog groups as well as transportation for The Washington Post. Luke can be reached at email@example.com.
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