Congress Shall Make No Law...
May
19
2:03 PM
“Stephen Colbert’s Free Speech Problem”

My colleague Steve Simpson and I have an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal today discussing TV funnyman Stephen Colbert’s latest riff on Citizens United v. FEC.  As some of our readers may know, Colbert has been trying to start a federal PAC to satirize the ease with which “unlimited corporate money” can be collected in the wake of Citizens United.  But Colbert is quickly discovering that campaign finance law remains incredibly difficult to navigate, particularly for political novices:

 

“Why does it get so complicated to do this? I mean, this is page after page of legalese,” Mr. Colbert lamented. “All I’m trying to do is affect the 2012 election. It’s not like I’m trying to install iTunes.”

 

Well, that’s pretty much what the nonprofit group Citizens United said to the Supreme Court in the case that Mr. Colbert is trying so hard to lampoon.

 

Be sure to read the whole thing.

 

Update:  Professor Rick Hasen, proprietor of the invaluable Election Law Blog, offers his thoughts on our op-ed:

 

Though I don’t agree with these gentlemen on the substance of campaign finance law, I have been thinking similar things about some of the unintended consequences of the Colbert gambit.  This is a lot more dangerous for campaign finance law than Colbert’s Hail to the Cheese candidacy from 2008.