“I am much taken by this and can’t think of any real parallel in history,” said Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institution. “Yes, comedians have always told jokes about elections, but this is quite different. This is a funny person being very serious, actually talking about process. What comedian talks about process?”
Mr. Colbert not only talks about process, he has become a part of it. The current law governing political action committees was laid down in a 2010 Supreme Court ruling, which lifted many restrictions on how corporations, unions and others could spend money on behalf of almost any cause.
In the 2010 Congressional races, Super PACs spent over $60 million, managing to get their voices heard through what Mr. Colbert has described as a “megaphone of cash.”