While many enjoyed today's FEC visit by Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert, an unlikely subset of D.C. insiders were deeply worried about it's potential ramifications: campaign finance reformers. On its face, these were the people who seemed most likely to appreciate Colbert's experiment seeking approval of a super PAC: after all, it was widely seen as a clever way of lampooning America's corporate-friendly campaign finance system. But as Politico's Ken Vogel discovered, if the FEC had approved Colbert's request in full, it would have had wide ramifications for America's political system.
"The proposals here would potentially open gaping disclosure loopholes in the campaign finance laws," Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21 and a campaign reform advocate told Politico before the ruling. "Wertheimer is so concerned about what Colbert is doing, in fact, that Democracy 21 has joined with the Campaign Legal Center, another advocacy group, to petition the FEC to reject his request because it could result in the 'radical evisceration' of campaign finance rules," reported Vogel.
National Journal's Sarah Mimms uncovered the same concerns. "If the FEC grants Colbert a press exemption, the decision could have a drastic effect on media involvement in federal elections, potentially opening the door for media outlets that employ politicians as commentators to aid favored candidates through undisclosed contributions." Thus, there was a groundswell of anxiety leading up to the decision.