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Stephen Colbert Says His SuperPAC Raised $1 Million

Comedian Stephen Colbert at a campaign stop in Charleston, South Carolina.
Richard Ellis
Getty Images
Comedian Stephen Colbert at a campaign stop in Charleston, South Carolina.

"I'm rolling seven digits deep!" is what Stephen Colbert told the Federal Election Commission in his superPAC's filing this morning.

The comedian said that as of January 30, his political action committee had collected $1,023,121.24 in donations.

This, of course, is all satire. "Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow," as the superPAC is known, was created to shed light on what the comedian thinks are problems that arose from Supreme Court rulings that now allow corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to overtly influence elections. Colbert's superPAC spent a significant amount of money in South Carolina, promoting a vote for Herman Cain and running ads that, for example, linked Mitt Romney to a serial killer.

As our friends at It's All Politics wrote earlier this month, the superPAC could have had an effect on South Carolina, where Cain received more than 6,000 votes despite the fact that he suspended his campaign back in December. That was more than twice the number of votes Rick Perry received, even though he quit the campaign days before the vote.

Colbert announced his haul on his superPAC's website last night.

"We raised it on my show and used it to materially influence the elections — in full accordance with the law. It's the way our founding fathers would have wanted it, if they had founded corporations instead of just a country," Colbert, who, yesterday, wrestled control of the superPAC from fellow Comedy Central star Jon Stewart, said.

The FEC filing, which you can find here, also details where the $1 million came from. The New York Times Caucus blog reports:

"Donors listed in the 147-page document include Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor of California ($500). A representative from Mr. Newsom's office confirmed in an e-mail that the lieutenant governor had in fact donated to the superPAC. Some celebrities' names also turned up in the filing, including the actors Laura Sangiacomo, star of 'Hot in Cleveland' ($250), and Bradley Whitford, a star of 'The West Wing' ($250) — naturally. Mr. Colbert also received money from a Rolling Stones tribute group called 'Sticky Fingers Band' ($400). None of these donors' contributions to the committee could be immediately confirmed.

"In addition to the superPAC's more notable donors, it also received small donations from several people with dubious identities, including one in Wisconsin whose name, when pronounced, makes an obscene phrase."

Also, yesterday, Colbert and Stewart batted around the idea of whether Colbert could influence his superPAC. That's been a real issue during the campaign, when different candidates have disavowed political ads run by their respective superPACs, but said federal law prohibits them from coordinating with them.

The filing says that the superPAC has $673,954 cash on hand. It's unclear how that money will be used.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.