For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 


Reason Prevails as FEC Declines To Expand ‘Press Exemption’ for Colbert Super PAC

Statement of Craig Holman, Government Affairs Lobbyist, Public Citizen

WASHINGTON - The Federal Election Commission (FEC) today rejected in part a request by Stephen Colbert, of the popular comedy show, “The Colbert Report,” to expand the reach of the “press exemption” under campaign finance law.

The FEC approved a modified version of the Colbert Advisory Opinion request that is fairly narrow and consistent with the current press exemption. In other words, reason (and Public Citizen, which asked the agency to rule narrowly on this request) more or less prevailed.


Our Summer Campaign Is Underway

Support Common Dreams Today

Independent News and Views Putting People Over Profit

The agency approved Colbert’s request to create a Super PAC and raise unlimited corporate donations for his committee, subject to the disclosure requirements. But media corporations, such as Viacom, may not exploit the press exemption to pay for Colbert’s campaign activities beyond a legitimate news function and avoid the disclosure requirements.
The vote was 5-to-1. Apparently, several Republican commissioners chose not to be the continuing butt of jokes about their deadlocking the agency so as to render it incapable of making decisions. Unfortunately, this new bipartisan spirit is likely to fade as soon as Colbert walks out the door.

To read Public Citizen’s letter sent to the FEC yesterday urging the agency to deny Colbert’s petition, visit:


This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

Share This Article