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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Stephen Colbert Shuts Down \'Super PAC\'

Count Stephen Colbert among those disappointed “super PAC” operatives who think they didn't help decide the presidential election.

But Mr. Colbert is taking it one step further: he is shutting down his group, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.

In a letter posted to the group's Web site, Mr. Colbert cited the “timely passing” of Ham Rove, an actual canned ham that Mr. Colbert called the super PAC's “adviser and chief strategist.”

“Due to Ham Rove's timely passing, I am announcing that Colbert Super PAC is shutting down effective immediately,” Mr. Colbert wrote.

On Monday's “Colbert Report,” Mr. Colbert expressed fear in taking money from “anonymous, scary donors,” and professed that they were trying to kill him for using donations ineffectively.

After attempting to fob the blame on Jon Stewart, Mr. Colbert offered the donors “a head on a platter” and did away with Ham Rove. He then made the group's remainin g funds - almost $800,000 - “disappear” to a new 501c4 group through an Internal Revenue Service loophole, as explained by his lawyer, the former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter.

“During this time of mourning, we ask that you respect our privacy, and more importantly, the privacy of our money,” Mr. Colbert continued in the letter. “It wishes to stay out of the public eye, so please don't go trying to find it. Rest assured, you won't. We have a really good lawyer.”

Mr. Colbert's super PAC was a joke that became real, evolving from a skit mocking the Citizens United decision to a full-fledged super PAC, at one point raising more than $1 million. While never explicitly stating his intentions, Mr. Colbert used the group to raise awareness of loose campaign finance laws.

Last August, his group released a 60-second ad, advocating a write-in campaign for “Rick Parry” in the Ames straw poll in Iowa. (Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, then considered an early favorite for the Republican nomination, opted not to officially enter the race until after the straw poll.)

The comedian then increased his super PAC credibility and released an attack ad in South Carolina during the state's primary, calling Mitt Romney a serial killer in a satire of the attacks against Mr. Romney's former company, Bain Capital.

As of Tuesday night, a termination report for Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow had not been posted on the Federal Election Commission Web site.