U.S. News Reports "Colbert Report" Viewers Taught More About Super PACs Than Cable News
Caplin & Drysdale's Trevor Potter is featured in a U.S. News & World Report article concerning his role in educating viewers of The Colbert Report about campaign finance and Super PACs. A recent survey reveals that viewers of the show during the 2012 election cycle were better educated about campaign finance law than viewers of more traditional news outlets. The study was conducted by researchers at Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania and the Pew Research Center. For the complete article, please visit U.S. News' website.
Excerpt taken from the article.
Colbert, playing a satirical right wing news show host, created his own super PAC – called "Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow" – in 2011 with the help of Trevor Potter, the former commissioner and chairman of the U.S. Federal Election Commission who served as general counsel on Sen. John McCain's 2000 and 2008 presidential runs.
"Having Trevor Potter be a part of it – he is a very important character in this story of the Colbert super PAC," Hardy says, pointing specifically to the moment in the parody's run when Potter said there wasn't much difference between money laundering and in how 501(c)(4s) and super PACs interacted.
"The fact that it is so shocking and so broken down in detail, it just captivated everyone's attention and it really just had this great effect on everyone understanding what was going on," Hardy says.
Potter appeared on the show often to explain the ins and outs of using these groups to raise money and influence elections. The gag, which won "The Colbert Report" a Peabody Award in 2012, culminated with Colbert announcing he would put his name on the South Carolina presidential primary ballot, but not before he handed over control of his super PAC to his late night cohort Jon Stewart, in a memorable spot talked about throughout the media.