In June 2011, Stephen Colbert petitioned the Federal Election Commission to start his own political action committee—a real one, with real money. The Colbert Super PAC SHH Institute (as in “hush”) is part razor-edged media stunt and part political statement. It is playing out the consequences of the January 2010 Supreme Court decision (Citizens United v. FEC) that speech is money and that corporations may “speak” as can individuals. Unlike individuals, however, corporations may donate unlimited sums (from secret donors) through PACs to electoral campaigns. What fun! Except that it has deadly serious ramifications for the democratic process, as Colbert showed with surreal ads funded by his PAC during the Iowa Caucuses. The New York Times profile: How Many Stephen Colberts Are There?
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