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Come Saturday Morning: Whose Money Is Buying Your Vote?

Did you know that Stephen Colbert has started his own Super Pac? He may be kidding, but I am not. He’s been raising money, evidently enough money (or Comedy Central is footing the bill?) to do an ad buy in Iowa. You can watch the commercial here. I love the name of the ad “Episode IV: A new hope.”

I love the mash up of every cheap editing and production trick political video makers overuse. The only thing missing were demon sheep and a little girl with a daisy and a mushroom cloud. Dog bless him, Colbert is already doing a terrific job of exposing the absurdity of how money is used in politics.

Spoiler alert: his ad advocates a write in ballot in the Iowa straw poll for Rick Parry, a fictitious version of Texas Governor Rick Perry. I sure would love it if Parry “A for America and A for IowA” won over non-fictional contenders, there would be an ironic justice in that.

Think about who is spending what. On Thursday, President Obama had ANOTHER $35,800 a head fundraiser in NYC. Now, the campaign can only receive $5,000 of that (and can only keep $2,500 if there is no primary—clearly they are building a primary war chest out of fear of the potential campaign juggernaut that is Matt Damon).

So, where does that other $30,800 per person go? It’s going to the DNC. Now, that’s a lot of moolah. And the DNC cannot transfer all that money to the Obama campaign. So, what to with it all?

I’ve been to the DNC, it is not a big building. They are frugal with their paperclips and copy toner. Clearly it is not all going to the housekeeping account.

I’m not complaining or finding fault, I’m delighted that the Dems will have enough funding to get out a message about the Democratic platform. I just point this to show that average low information voters (you know, people who are too busy looking for a job or working longer hours for the same pay in a desperate gambit to keep their current job to keep up with the minutiae of campaign finance law) have no idea who or what is really behind the ads they see on TV, the flyers they get in the mail, or the billboards they see on the road.

I applaud Stephen Colbert for sowing the seeds of absurdity and confusion. It is time and past time for the kind of campaign finance reform that both levels the playing field and allows voters to know who is controlling the messaging beamed into their living rooms.

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Cynthia Kouril

Cynthia Kouril

Cynthia Kouril is a former Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York under several different U.S. Attorneys, former counsel to the Inspector General for the N.Y.C. Department of Environmental Protection where she investigated threats to the New York City water supply and other environmental crimes, as well as public corruption and fraud against the government, former Examining Attorney at the N.Y.C. Department of Investigation and former Capital Construction Counsel at New York City Parks and Recreation.
She is now in private practice with a colleague whom she met while at the USA Attorney's Office. Ms. Kouril is a member of the Steering Committee, National Committeewoman and Regional Coordinator for the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, a member of the Program Committee of the Federal Bar Council and a member of the Election Law Committee at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. She is active in several other Bar Associations.
Most important of all, she is a soccer mom.