Hey Stephen Colbert. There’s an existential challenge to your shadowy Colbert Super PAC S.H.H. and I’ve been trying to give you a heads up. But you’re not making it easy.
Whenever you and your Fat Cat Moneybag buddies like Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers feel like lying to the rest of us in all those political attack ads you buy, you’re allowed to disguise yourselves. The only way we learn that you’re behind the smears is when groups like The Center for Media and Democracy, the Sunlight Foundation, OpenSecrets.org and Followthemoney.org dig through financial records, link those donations to you and alert us previously duped Americans.
Your mischief-making is about to end, thanks to the California Clean Money Campaign (CCMC). CCMC is spearheading a bill that will drive you and your crony capitalist cohort out from under your metaphorical rocks by requiring primary funders of political commercials in California to state their real names and company affiliations in the ads themselves, as candidates for national office already do.
The bill is the California DISCLOSE Act, AB 1148, modeled on the 2010 federal DISCLOSE Act (HR 5175) that passed the House of Representatives, but fell short by one lousy vote in the Senate. Heroic Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-41) wrote AB 1148 and is scheduled to bring it to the Assembly Elections Committee in just over a month.
Most Californians have her back on this. A new CA Field Poll finds that “an overwhelming majority of voters (84 percent) would like to increase public disclosure requirements of initiative sponsors to more clearly identify who are its major funders.” CCMC volunteers are turning in thousands of signed petitions and endorsement forms to show state lawmakers how enthusiastically their constituents support DISCLOSE. We’re gonna occupy the Assembly every time it gets heard.
When the bill passes that house and goes to the California Senate under Clean Money champion Senator Loni Hancock’s (D -09) authorship, we’ll be there. If Californians have to pass it as a ballot measure, we’ll occupy that campaign too. Then we’ll crowd into Governor Brown’s office to watch him sign AB 1148 into the law that will finally start to curb your and your fellow oligarchic overlords’ power over the rest of us, at least in this state.
Why, you may wonder, would a Clean Elections devotee like me want to warn you about what will surely be your undoing? Because CCMC knows the only way to start fixing our wreck of a country — to make a better tomorrow, tomorrow — wait, shouldn’t it be make a better tomorrow, today? Anyway — is to drain the big money poison from our political system and turn elections into fair contests, where everyone — including you — gets an equal chance to lead.
That’s not really why I’m reaching out to you. We do believe in stuff like leveling the political playing field and getting big money out of campaigns (like HuffPost and Dylan Ratigan’s ongoing Get Money Out project); and our ultimate goal is to establish full voluntary public funding of campaigns, so that electeds will represent the voters, rather than the 1% who currently buy their offices and their souls.
But Stephen, my basic motivation for telling you about DISCLOSE is because when you oppose things, you lavish them with criticism on your show for the benefit of the entire Colbert Nation, which pretty much means the entire universe. I bet your opposition could – no, will — clinch our victory.
That’s why I’ve been trying to alert you. I clicked on every link at The Colbert Report and Comedy Central, and on your Facebook page, looking in vain for contact info. I emailed Colbert Super PAC S.H.H. Communications Director Alberto Rèalnamè. He replied — for some reason verbatim, twice — that unless I was “the Wall Street Journal or something like that,” I shouldn’t expect a personal response any time soon. I may be like many things, but none of them is the Wall Street Journal, so on I trudged.
Couldn’t find a phone number for you online, so I called directory assistance, which gave me a number that led to a few more numbers, and finally to a voice that said “Colbert Report.” “Is this a human?” I started to ask, expecting “no one’s available… ” to interrupt before I finished the question. But whoa. A guy answered and let me know that, to his knowledge, he was human.
Here’s an approximation of the rest of the conversation: “What’s the best way to contact you with an idea for the show?” “We can’t accept any outside material.” “Ok. How can I let you know about an organization?” “We can’t accept any outside information.” “Ok. It’s about the Colbert Super PAC.” Silence. “Is there a better way to ask you?” “Hey, all I do is answer the phone.” “So is there any way I can get material to the Colbert Report?” “You can mail it to our address.” “Will someone read it?” “It’ll get here, anyway.” “Thanks.” (I said that nicely. It’s not his fault — unless you were the guy answering your own show’s phone. Right.)
And Stephen, there’s one more reason I keep trying to reach you. We’ll need all the money we can get to counter the lies the Chamber of Commerce, Big Pharma, Big Oil and Big Everything else will surely throw at Californians and our elected representatives in ads against DISCLOSE, ads where the corpocrats won’t ID themselves honestly. We sure would love a big donation from Colbert Super PAC S.H.H. You won’t have to tell anybody. But we will.
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