Stephen Colbert's Lawyer Explains the Danger of Super PACs

More

In April of last year, Stephen Colbert welcomed Trevor Potter, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, to his fake news show. Potter was presumably there to comfort Colbert, who had just learned that his efforts to start a political action committee on behalf of The Colbert Report had been thwarted. "It's all paid for by the network, and they're a corporation," Potter explained. "And traditionally, corporations can't give to PACs."

Actually, Potter was on the show to help Colbert launch a new "Super PAC" -- and highlight what both men see as an absurdity of today's political system. Ever since the 2010 Citizens United decision, corporations have been allowed to donate as much money as they want to any political candidate. In this video, Potter discusses this massive change in the political process with James Bennet, Atlantic editor in chief and author of the October cover story "The New Price of American Politics."


Jump to comments

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz is The Atlantic's digital features editor. More

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, an Atlantic senior editor, began her association with the magazine in 2002, shortly after graduating from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She joined the staff full time in January 2006. Before coming to The Atlantic, Jennie was senior editor at Moment, a national magazine founded by Elie Wiesel.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Video

Just In