When Stephen Colbert first showed "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart how much was in the Americans For a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow SuperPAC ahead of the South Carolina primaries, Stewart did a comical gasp. Yet, the audience was left in the dark over how much was there.
But not anymore.
Meeting the Jan. 31 filing deadline for financial reports from the Federal Election Commission, Colbert announced on "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central Monday night that he would be posting his FEC filing for his SuperPAC on his website at midnight. And he didn't renege.
There, the world found out exactly how much money Colbert has raised through what was intended to be a joke about the state of superPACs: $1.02 million.
Shauna Polk, the treasurer for the SuperPAC, said in her cover letter to the filing that Colbert wanted to add a quote: "Yeah, How you like me now, FEC? I'm rolling seven digits deep!" Polk, however, qualified that by saying she "advised Mr. Colbert against using that quote."
All kidding aside, the SuperPAC money is real. Since July, the Colbert SuperPAC raised $825,000 in cash, and spent $152,000 of it in South Carolina when Colbert campaigned as Herman Cain. That leaves just under $674,000 of cash on hand -- for what? We might learn during the Presidential election.
Although it's not included in the actual documentation, but it seems the remaining $180,000 or so unaccounted for in revenue are actual in-kind donations Colbert himself made, including work done by Comedy Central's parent, Viacom.
There were some big donors, the biggest single one being Alex Rigopulos of Belmont, Mass. for $9,600. He is chief executive officer of Harmonix Music Systems Inc., a company that makes musical video games. Another big donor was Aubrey Ayash of West Virginia, who donated $3,000. He listed his occupation as president of Federal Coal Co. That company, according to research, was founded in 1918, and has remained an Ayash family business ever since.
A number of people wrote checks for $1,000. They include Frank Brunckhorst of Sarasota, Fla.; Donald Engle of Lafayette, Calif.; Carrie Gibson of San Jose, Calif.; Todd Kopriva of Seattle; Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids, Mich.; Howard Miska of State College, Pa.; Mark Rigby of Atlanta; and Warren Stine of Tipton, Ind.
Brunckhorst is a descendant of the founder of Boar's Head deli meats, which was founded in Brooklyn in 1905, but moved to Florida about a decade ago. Brunckhorst stays out of the media spotlight, but is known to make sizable campaign contributions. Through the last reporting period, he has donated nearly $100,000 to political causes as an individual, and another $63,000 to joint fundraising, according to the FEC.
Those major contributions added up to just $20,600, which means more than $800,000 was raised through grassroots efforts through Colbert's viewers.
Among the expenses, Comedy Partners -- likely referring to the Viacom division that runs Comedy Central -- was paid $2,000 for its work, with the rest of the money spend on advertising buys, consulting, and bookkeeping. One thing to note, however, is that the SuperPAC did commission a couple of T-shirt designs, paying $30 for one and $40 for another to two New York artists.
During the South Carolina primary, Colbert's SuperPAC released three commercials, all voiced by popular actors. The first attacked Mitt Romney, and was voiced by John Lithgow, most recently of "Dexter." The second encouraged those who supported Colbert to vote for Herman Cain, who had already left the campaign. That ad was narrated by Mandy Patinkin of "Homeland."
The third ad actually attacked Colbert, supposedly as a means to try and convince people that Colbert was not coordinating with the SuperPAC. That ad was voiced by Samuel L. Jackson.
During his short campaign run in South Carolina, Colbert turned over the reins of his SuperPAC to Stewart, but took the SuperPAC back during a comedy bit on Monday's show.
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