The Federal Election Commission (FEC) looks set to approve Stephen Colbert’s request for a press exemption that would allow him to promote his “super PAC” on-air without Viacom having to report it as an in-kind contribution.
Poking fun at Karl Rove offering “commentary” on his own super PAC American Crossroads on Fox News under a press exemption, Colbert said he wanted to report on his “super PAC” without Comedy Central’s parent company Viacom having to report the air time and production costs as an in-kind contribution.
“Viacom will be acting within its legitimate press function when it features on the Show discussions of the Committee, and costs incurred by Viacom will not be in-kind contributions from Viacom to the Committee,” FEC lawyers write in a draft opinion posted on Friday.
Colbert dropped off his request for an advisory opinion at the FEC last month, telling reporters he didn’t “want to be the one chump” without unlimited corporate cash going to the super PAC. Two good government groups urged the FEC not to expand the media exception, saying it “would permit the corporate media employer of these individuals to make unlimited, undisclosed contributions to their PACs under the guise of the ‘press exemption’.”
The FEC is preparing for Colbert to show up to the Commission with his lawyer Trevor Potter in person when they consider the draft versions of the report on Thursday. If they go with the recommendation of their staff, they’ll give him the go-ahead.
Here’s a video of Potter and Colbert discussing his request for a media exception on the show.