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Saturday
Feb042012

Obama Super PAC "money laundering" according to Stephen Colbert

I thought this was a fun story for a Friday afternoon.  So, faux conservative Stephen Colbert tried to take a whack at Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads, by exposing the process by which a 501(c)4 organization can raise money from undisclosed donors and then donate those funds to a 527 "Super PAC" as being similar to money laundering, albeit legal.
However, there was a tiny snag in Colbert's logic.  From the Weekly Standard:
There was just one problem: Crossroads GPS hasn’t donated any money to American Crossroads and has said it has no plans to do so. A few days later, Colbert had to “issue a clarification” on air for the insinuation.
Oops.
But wait, there's more:
Priorities USA Action, the Obama-affiliated super PAC (which must disclose its donors) received over $215,000 in the last quarter from Priorities USA, the Obama-affiliated 501c(4) (which does not have to disclose its donors). 
Somehow I doubt Colbert will get as much of a kick out of exposing Obama's "money laundering" so I wouldn't hold your breath expecting to see it highlighted on a Colbert Report episode anytime soon, but maybe we can give him a little heat over it online?
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Is Obama's Super PAC 'Laundering' Money? Ask Stephen Colbert.

Feb 2, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN

Ever since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in January 2010, Stephen Colbert has been satirizing campaign finance laws on his Comedy Central show. In one particularly newsworthy bit this past September, Colbert formed his own 501c(4) non-profit company, which does not require donor disclosure, and demonstrated that he could have that company donate to FEC-approved 527 group (aka a “super PAC”), which must disclose its donors. Colbert confirmed with campaign finance lawyer Trevor Potter that this loophole was entirely legal and yet curiously similar to money laundering. You can watch the video below: 

  [CLICK HERE to watch video]  
On the show, Colbert implied that Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, a 501c(4) group, was using this tactic to essentially launder money to its related super PAC, American Crossroads. It was a pretty effective indictment of the current campaign finance laws with a good bashing of Rove and his conservative group to boot.  
There was just one problem: Crossroads GPS hasn’t donated any money to American Crossroads and has said it has no plans to do so. A few days later, Colbert had to “issue a clarification” on air for the insinuation.  
But Colbert’s criticism of the loophole remains intact, which is why this graph at the New York Times showing who funds the major 2012 super PACs is so interesting. Priorities USA Action, the Obama-affiliated super PAC (which must disclose its donors) received over $215,000 in the last quarter from Priorities USA, the Obama-affiliated 501c(4) (which does not have to disclose its donors).   
This begs the question: Will Colbert point out on his show, as he mistakenly did with Rove’s organizations, that Obama’s super PAC is operating a legal “money laundering” scheme?


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