FEC Should Expect Mail
Stephen Colbert is encouraging supporters of his Colbert Super PAC to file public comments with the FEC with regards to the Advisory Opinion Request (AOR) filed by American Crossroads. The Karl Rove-affiliated Super PAC is seeking clearance to run ads starring the candidates themselves without reporting them as ‘coordinated’ with the candidates.
Colbert, who is represented by Campaign Legal Center President Trevor Potter, this week filed tongue-in-cheek comments in support of American Crossroads (AOR) pointing out the absurdity of the request.
In a newsletter sent to supporters, the host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report alerted readers that “any person, be they corporate or biological”, can weigh in with the FEC on the American Crossroad’s Advisory Opinion Request.
In closing, Colbert encourages supporters to, “join us at Colbert Super PAC in letting Karl Rove know: We've got your back. Because we're looking over your shoulder.”
Potter is representing Mr. Colbert through his private practice and has disqualified himself from the Legal Center’s work in connection with Colbert’s political activities.
The newsletter and comments filed with the FEC follow below.
Colbert Super PAC Newsletter
Dear Colbert Super PAC Members (and semi-sentient spam-bots),
It's a bright day on the shadowy edge of American politics.
Yesterday, I was paid a visit by Trevor Potter, Esq. As you know, if you have been collecting the Official Colbert Super PAC Trading Cards know, Trevor was not only the former head of the F.E.C. and chief counsel to the McCain 2008 campaign, but he's also my personal lawyer*. Not to mention, someone I am proud to pay for the honor of calling my friend.
Together, we drafted an official Public Comment in support of American Crossroads' Advisory Opinion Request to the Federal Election Commission.
I'll let that sink in. It may take a bit, because you have no idea what I'm talking about. The full fiduciary details were laid bare in last night's show, but for those of you lacking the energy to click here for part one and here for part two, here's the gist:
As free as Super PACs are to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, they are still unfairly shackled by regulation. Notice I used the singular. That's because there is really only one rule that binds Super PACs: that they may not coordinate with candidates' campaigns. But what fun is buying somebody an election if you have no elected official to share the moment with?
America Crossroads' Karl Rove saw through this sham of a charade – or "shamrade™" – and petitioned the F.E.C. to clarify exactly what the law is, so he can carefully obey only the letter of it. We at Colbert Super PAC submitted the attached Public Comment to the Federal Election Commission in a show of non-coordinated, non-consensual support.
Incidentally, you might be interested in knowing that any person, be they corporate or biological, can submit their Public Comment on Karl Rove's Opinion Request (which is AOR 2011-23) by writing to Office of the Commission Secretary's email address (which is Secretary@FEC.gov).
We hope you'll join us at Colbert Super PAC in letting Karl Rove know: We've got your back. Because we're looking over your shoulder.
President and Junior Legal Counsel
Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow
* If you are playing the Colbert Super PAC Trading Card Fantasy/Strategy Card Game, remember that Trevor gains a +4 defense against all frost-based creatures (including the dreaded Ice Dragon!)
Americans For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow
November 6, 2011
Shawn Woodhead Werth
Secretary and Clerk
Federal Election Commission
999 E Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20463
Re: Comment on American Crossroads Advisory Opinion Request
Dear Secretary Werth:
Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow submits this letter as a formal comment on the Advisory Opinion Request submitted to the Federal Election Commission on October 12, 2011, and again in a revised version on October 28, 2011 by American Crossroads, an organization led by Republican political consultant and "Mr. November" in the 2012 "Hunks of the Bush Administration" calendar, Karl Rove.
Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow has much in common with American Crossroads. Both are registered "independent-expenditure-only" PACs (a.k.a. "Super PACs") that may accept unlimited contributions from corporations, unions, individuals, and doomsday cults we one day hope to found. Both groups are separately affiliated with prominent 501©(4) organizations, Colbert Super PAC SHH and Crossroads GPS, and are strongly committed to doing what is legally possible in America. Both have top strategic thinkers at their core: American Crossroads has Karl Rove, and Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow has a ham loaf wearing wire rimmed glasses.
Because of this shared bond and heritage, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow has an interest in the Request by American Crossroads.
As we understand the American Crossroads Advisory opinion Request, the organization has plans to sponsor advertisements featuring Members of Congress up for re-election. As they wrote in their original Request,
"The purpose of these advertisements, while focused on current legislative and policy issues, would be to improve the public's perception of the featured Member of Congress in advance of the 2012 campaign season."
Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow could not concur more concurrently. These ads would simply improve public perception of candidates in advance of the campaign. The message is not, "Vote for this great guy," it's merely, "Hey voters! Look at this great guy!"
Clearly, these ads featuring candidates on behalf of candidates would not be candidate ads. As American Crossroads put it, in their original Request,
"While these advertisements would be fully coordinated with incumbent Members of Congress facing re-election in 2012, they would presumably not qualify as 'coordinated communications,'."
Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow agrees that "fully coordinated" ads shouldn't be counted as "coordinated communications." The candidate would merely be appearing as a paid spokesperson, who, coincidentally, is closely aligned with the candidate that he or she also is.
For example, an ad in which the Kool Aid man decries our nation-wide childhood thirst problem would not necessarily be an ad for Kool Aid brand juice drink. That being said, would a tall glass of Kool-Aid solve that thirst problem? To quote one expert: "Oh, yeaaahhhh!"
Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow wholly endorses American Crossroads' Request. We hope the Commission is able to begin with the Supreme Court's definition of Non-Coordinated as "expenditures … made totally independently of the candidate and his campaign" in Buckley v. Valeo, and end up with a ruling that allows outside groups to produce ads with the candidate's cooperation, themes, and message. That will prove to our nation's critics that America is a country that still makes something: strained rationalizations.
Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow believes that Super PACs can and should coordinate with candidates in every sense of that word—except in the legal or biblical sense. In fact, pending the outcome of American Crossroads' Request, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow plans to coordinate a non-"coordinated" ad with presidential novelty candidate Buddy Roemer. A rough example of which can be found here: www.colbertsuperpac.com/undaunted-non-coordination.
It should be clear that there was no collusion with Governor Roemer, as he vehemently opposes and passionately questions the legality of the ad that he agreed to appear in.
If the Commission sees fit to grant these reasonable requests, Americans for a Better Tomorrow will continue to fulfill our promise to never give you up, or let you down, as detailed in our mission statement here:
Accordingly, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow respectfully requests the Commission's timely consideration of American Crossroads' Advisory Opinion Request.
Super Sincerely Yours,
President & Maître D'
Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Inc.
Chief Strategist & Lunchmeat
Americans for A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Inc.
PS – If the commission does not see fit to grant this request fully, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow would like to offer a compromise. To avoid the appearance of collusion, the F.E.C. could rule that candidates can appear in Super PAC ads only against their will. 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.