The Stephen Colbert super PAC is run by a comedian, but the political action committee’s bank account is no joke, based on federal reports filed today.
The super PAC is “rolling seven digits deep,” as Stephen Colbert said in a statement to the Federal Election Commission today, having hauled in more than $1.02 million as of Jan. 30. FEC filings for the latter half of 2011 — from July through December– show the super PAC raised about $825,000, meaning in the midst of Colbert’s short-lived presidential exploratory committee his PAC pulled in about $200,000.
“We raised it on my show and used it to materially influence the elections – in full accordance with the law,” Comedy Central comedian Colbert said Tuesday in a statement. “It’s the way our Founding Fathers would have wanted it, if they had founded corporations instead of just a country.”
None of the super PACs supporting current GOP presidential candidates have filed their fourth quarter reports yet, but it is expected that those groups will haul in significantly more than Colbert’s super PAC. Restore Our Future, the super PAC that supports Mitt Romney, for example, reported collecting more than $12 million in first six months of 2011, according to previous FEC filings.
In the last six months of 2011, Colbert’s PAC spent about $150,000. As of December 31, it had nearly $640,000 cash on hand, according to the FEC report.
The majority of the spending went to creating the super PAC’s web site, legal fees and media consulting fees. The PAC spent about $31,000 on “t-shirt manufacturing” and about $3,000 on “advertisements” as well.
While super PACs can, by law, accept unlimited donations, the largest amount Colbert’s PAC received from one donor was $9,600, which was given by Alex Rigopulos, the CEO of Harmonix Music Systems, Inc. A total of 339 people donated more than $200 to the PAC from July through December. Donations under $200 do not have to be individually reported to the FEC.
Colbert, 47, created the super PAC, officially called Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, in June and has used it to accentuate new campaign finance laws that allow people and corporations to donate unlimitedly to such groups, which can then spend that money to support or oppose political candidates.
In the weeks leading up to the South Carolina primary, Colbert transferred power of his super PAC to fellow comedian Jon Stewart in an on-air ceremony on “The Colbert Report” complete with a sci-fi-style money-power transfer and celebratory balloon drop.
During Colbert’s two-week flirtation with a presidential run, the super PAC, under Stewart’s direction, spent at least $71,000 to create and air four ads in South Carolina, FEC filing show.
Colbert snatched back the super PAC reins Monday night in an epic battle that spanned Stewart’s “The Daily Show” and Colbert’s show.
“The way I see it, the Supreme Court said that money is speech, and Jon Stewart was hogging all my speech,” Colbert said in today’s statement. “Now I’ve taken that speech from Jon, making him like that movie ‘The Artist’: French.”
Colbert has not said what he plans to spend his remaining money on.