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FEC Steels Itself for Colbert

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Colbert has pulled more than a few political stunts in Washington:

Colbert PAC: At the end of March, Colbert announced he was starting his own PAC with help from his lawyer, former FEC Chairman Trevor Potter. Two weeks later, Colbert lampooned the process by pointing out that the only difference between creating a PAC and a super PAC is a one-page cover letter.

But lawyers from Viacom Inc., Comedy Central’s parent company, were still worried that there could be legal implications from spending company resources on the PAC. So Colbert and Potter submitted an advisory opinion request to the FEC asking for a media exemption that the agency is slated to debate Thursday. In the meantime, Colbert said that the No. 1 objective of the Colbert super PAC “is to get raises for every member of the FEC.”

Better Know a District: A recurring segment called “Better Know a District” has led to many uncomfortably funny moments for House Members interviewed for “The Colbert Report.” Among the highlights: Colbert got Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) to concede that he could not name all of the 10 Commandments, and the comedian placed a fake beard on the face of Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) while stating that the lawmaker was a “Georgia peach.”

These embarrassing Capitol Hill interviews became such an issue that then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel instructed Democratic freshmen in 2007 not to appear on Colbert’s “435-part series.” So far, more than 70 House lawmakers and candidates have been interviewed for the show. They include former Rep. Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.) posing as his own “evil twin” to tell Colbert why he “enjoys cocaine” and “the company of prostitutes.”

White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner: No one was safe from Colbert’s snark when he headlined the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. President George W. Bush looked uncomfortable as Colbert roasted him in particularly biting fashion at the annual event. “It is my privilege to celebrate this president, because we’re not so different, he and I,” Colbert said. “We both get it. Guys like us, we’re not some brainiacs on the nerd patrol. We’re not members of the fact-inista. We go straight from the gut.”

Testifying Before Congress: At the invitation of Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Colbert testified in character before a House Judiciary subcommittee in September 2010 about his “vast experience spending one day as a migrant farm worker.” During his five-minute monologue, he blended serious agricultural concerns with humor. “This is America,” he said. “I don’t want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan and served by a Venezuelan in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian.”

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