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'How Many Stephen Colberts Are There?' NYT Article Quotes, Trevor Potter

January 5, 2012, The New York Times
Excerpt taken from the article.

Colbert's abettor in his super-PAC efforts is, of all people, Trevor Potter, a Washington lawyer who is a former chairman of the F.E.C. and was general counsel to John McCain during the 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns and has become Colbert's personal lawyer. "T. Potts," as Colbert sometimes calls him, is a bit of a performer himself and is now a regular on the show. Colbert once toyed with enlisting a smoke machine to enhance his entrances.

"Aren't lawyers allowed to have fun?" Potter asked me a few weeks ago, adding that he knew what he was signing up for by appearing on the show. He also said he thought that Colbert was serving a useful function. "I'm very careful not to ascribe motive to him — he can speak for himself," he said. "I don't know what he's thinking. He can find the laws ironic or funny or absurd. But he's illustrating how the system works by using it. By starting a super PAC, creating a (c)4, filing with the F.E.C., he can bring the audience inside the system. He can show them how it works and then leave them to conclude whether this is how it ought to work."

Colbert says that education isn't his aim with the super PAC — being funny is. Nevertheless, he proudly showed me that if you Google the phrase "super PAC," his name is one of the first that shows up, and the evolution of his super PAC has lately been the show's big, ongoing narrative. As Potter pointed out, when Colbert began his super PAC, he wasn't sure how a super PAC worked; he just knew he wanted one. Now he is full of plans, most of them confidential, for more "grand actions," as he calls them.

Colbert declined to tell me how much money was in his super PAC's treasury, pointing out that "that's what PACs do — they don't have to tell you." But there are almost 170,000 names on the super PAC's e-mail list, and some 30,000 people have given him money.

To read the full article about Stephen Colbert and Super PACs click here.


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