What if he doesn’t do something stupid? Harris was meh. The Boston resident, who once had a Hill internship and seemed more familiar with FEC issues than the average American, just shrugged. “I don’t know, I’d be a little sad but it’s 50 bucks, not the worst thing for me.” He was equally concerned that he may have just overdrawn his checking account.
Others aren’t taking it as lightly.
As Politico’s Ken Vogel reported, groups advocating stricter campaign finance laws are treating the issue with a bit more gravitas, worried that the “proposals here would potentially open gaping disclosure loopholes in the campaign finance laws.”
Others, meanwhile, are noting that Colbert’s stunt only reinforces the position of those advocating looser campaign finance rules. These supporters, a significant number conservative, aren’t so much laughing with Colbert’s more liberal audience, as at them.
“I feel like Stephen Colbert is the voice of our generation and we need someone who will accept large amounts of money to make a difference in this country,” said Greg Sutherland as the crowd dispersed. He wasn’t being facetious.
Peering over the crowd in a seersucker suit and a cornflake-colored bow tie, Sutherland, who works at an undisclosed “Senate office,” looked like the stylish stereotype of a cool, young conservative. The kind that might have had a poster of William F. Buckley on his dorm room wall instead of some ragged jamband.
“I am a Republican!,” said Sutherland after being typecast by The Daily Caller. “Corporate donations are free speech [after the] Citizens United case; and you know if we’re going to take back both houses and the presidency, we need all the money we can get.”
So while the stunt was good fun on a bright Thursday afternoon, the FEC is still looking at serious, and seriously contentious, questions.
Back inside the building, an auxiliary room had been filled with chairs and a live-feed monitor to accommodate the overflow of curious spectators. Each seat had a packet stuffed with 30-plus blue pages of itemized agenda notes on the open meeting that looked as appealing as the FEC’s normal business topics. As everyone deserted the room following the super-PAC ruling, one FEC employee noted that, yes, there was another non-Colbert item on the meeting agenda.
It was to discuss whether lawmakers and federal office holders could legally solicit money on behalf of the Super-PACs. The focus was on the two recently formed Democratic super-PACs, Majority PAC and House Majority PAC.
The FEC employee, as he raised a knowing eyebrow, said “this is the real news today.”