In a satirical ad funded by the Colbert Super PAC, former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer took a shot at Super PACs and the way they leverage money to influence elections. Roemer’s spot features the dark horse presidential candidate and a unicorn named Rainbow.
The ad, titled “Undaunted Non-Coordination” takes aim at Super PACs’ “issue ads,” which focus on issues, not candidates, as a not-so-subtle way to legally attack a candidate without coordinating the effort through an opponent’s campaign.
Colbert created his Super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, to spoof the influence of Super PACs in the political process. Roemer has advocated for the removal of money from politics, which he says has corrupted the system. His campaign accepts donations no larger than $100 from any individual.
The conservative Super PAC American Crossroads wrote to the Federal Election Commission last month requesting permission to run ads featuring members of Congress who are up for reelection in 2012 talking about issues. The group said this would not constitute support or opposition for the candidates.
“Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow could not concur more concurrently,” wrote Colbert in a letter to the FEC supporting that request. “These ads would simply improve public perception of candidates in advance of the campaign. The message is not, ‘Vote for this great guy,’ it’s merely, ‘Hey voters! Look at this great guy!’”
Writing about the Roemer ad, Colbert noted, “It should be clear that there was no collusion with Governor Roemer, as he vehemently opposes and passionately questions the legality of the ad that he agreed to appear in.”
Indeed, Roemer is quick to announce his reluctance.
“Hi I’m Buddy Roemer. And god, I wish I weren’t in this ad,” Roemer says on-screen. “See, I didn’t pay for it. Colbert Super PAC did, and Super PACs are not allowed to coordinate with candidates like me.”
“But because this is an issue ad about Super PACs not coordinating with candidates, I can be in it — I can be in it as long as I don’t say ‘vote for me.’”
The word “vote” is bleeped out at this point, and “Not an Endorsement” pops up on the screen.
“I say that argument is just a fig leaf so Super PACs can justify doing anything they want. They built this fake set with fake books, filled with real money. They even bought Colbert a unicorn,” Roemer says.
“All perfectly legal, Rainbow,” says Colbert, seated atop his “unicorn.”
Asked to comment on the satirical ad, American Crossroads Communications Director Jonathan Collegio said the Democratic Party exploited the same loophole when it ran ads featuring Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson talking about his record. Democrats also spent more money than a party is allowed to spend supporting a senator’s campaign, he added, because it was considered an “issue ad.”
“Democrat[ic] Senator Ben Nelson appears to have skirted election rules when he coordinated with an outside group to run his issue ad – and if Democrats are allowed to do it, it’s important to make sure everyone can,” Collegio told The Daily Caller in an email.