Comedian Stephen Colbert announced on his television show "The Colbert Report" Thursday that he would donate more than $770,000 raised by his super PAC to Hurricane Sandy relief and other charities.
A super PAC is a political action committee that, since the U.S. Supreme Court controversial Citizens United ruling in 2010, is allowed to accept unlimited donations from individuals and corporations, but is legally barred from coordinating with any candidate’s campaign.
In the summer of last year, Colbert founded a super PAC named “Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow,” more commonly known as the Colbert Super PAC.
Over 18 months, the super PAC raised more than $1 million, and it aired satirical political commercials that criticized the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling. Now, Colbert has decreed that remaining money raised by the super PAC, $773,704.83, will be donated to a variety of charities.
Colbert said $125,000 would go to each of the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts run by Donors Choose, Habitat for Humanity, Team Rubicon, while another $125,000 would go to the Yellow Ribbon Fund, a charity for injured veterans, according to the Hill. The rest of the money would be split between the Campaign Legal Center and the Center for Responsive Politics, the Hill reported.
During the 2012 campaign season, Colbert used his super PAC to mock other super PACs. Now that the general elections are over, Colbert has transferred the money to a nonprofit organization named the “Colbert PAC SSH.”
In April, Colbert was presented with a Peabody Award for public service in television for his super PAC campaign, which was named an “innovative means of teaching American viewers about the landmark court decision.”
Read excerpts of Colbert’s letter announcing the charity donations below. The letter makes reference to “Ham Rove,” a fictional character on the “The Colbert Report” who supposedly ran Colbert’s super PAC:
“Tonight, I am honored to announce First and Final Annual Charitable Donations by the Ham Rove Memorial Fund.
“Hurricane Sandy was much like Ham Rove: Cold, cruel, salty, and the cause of untold devastation. In his honor, Donors Choose, Team Rubicon, and Habitat For Humanity will each receive $125,000 to assist with their Sandy relief efforts.
“We'll also be donating $125,000 to the Yellow Ribbon Fund, which serves wounded soldiers and their families. My attempts to get a matching donation to the Blue Ribbon Fund, which serves me frosty cans of PBR, were not successful.
“The remaining money will be split between two pro-transparency groups who fight against the corrupting influence of outside money in politics. Luckily, they were both fine with the corrupting influence of outside money in their offices. As per his wishes, the Center for Responsive Politics has officially renamed their meeting space ‘The Colbert Super Pac Memorial Conference Room.’ And the Campaign Legal Center will, from here on out, be home to ‘The Ham Rove Memorial Conference Room.’”
Watch Colbert’s announcement of the charity donations below.