Allison Hayward, a Republican elections lawyer, thinks it's a possibility.
Two assertions have been made. One is that by airing Colbert, and allowing him to flak for his “campaign” the Comedy Central cable network (or Viacom) is making illegal corporate contributions/expenditures. The second is that Comedy Central will have provided Colbert with a “use” that under communications law triggering equal opportunities obligations. Let’s look at each of these in turn.
Why would the broadcast be deemed an illegal expenditure? Because, so the argument goes, the candidate is controlling the broadcasts - Colbert “controls” the Colbert Report. Thus, the broadcasts would not be exempt under campaign laws as news, commentary or editorials run by a broadcaster (the so-called “press exemption” - scroll down to 431(9)(B)) The law explicitly states that if the facilities of the broadcaster are controlled by a candidate or political party, the spending isn’t exempt.
Marc Ambinder is a contributing editor at The Atlantic. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.