MTV: The Tale of the Filthy Moose: The Joke Super PAC the FEC Didn't Think Was Very Funny


“I’ll be damned!” says Trevor Potter, former chair of the FEC and Colbert’s super PAC lawyer, upon hearing that people were still watching the now four- and five-year-old segments and taking action. “The segments seemed very of the moment. I guess it makes sense that people would still use them as a teaching tool, though.”

“My general view is that Colbert did a great job informing the public about campaign finance,” says Paul S. Ryan, deputy executive director at the Campaign Legal Center. “Without being funny, eyes glaze over when someone like me talks about campaign finance. But maybe the audience would have been better served if he took the joke further and said that it’s easy to set super PACs up, but that it takes a bit more work to maintain them.”

Potter adds that it is unlikely that a joke PAC will get fined in the future, as the FEC usually only punishes committees that are in the business of raising and spending money. Technical violations that don’t affect the election aren’t a priority.

So to other high schoolers destined to watch those Colbert clips during AP government, Ryan recommends not responding by making the FEC’s life miserable. Setting up a super PAC as a joke, “that’s not real political involvement,” he says. “If you want to get involved, volunteer with a candidate or a political party.” Or, if you truly care about election reform, he adds, volunteer with U.S. PIRG or Common Cause. “Get involved with the issue in the real world instead of making a joke.”

Potter added another option: “If you’re going to have a super PAC, do something about it! Run ads, lobby your local member of Congress, do something about this mess that we’re in. We could use a lot of widespread lobbying on this issue if people want to make a difference.”

To read the full story at MTV, click here.