Among the immersive media experiences we spotlighted at SXSW's Immersion 101 discussion last spring was Stephen Colbert's faux presidential campaign, which started on The Colbert Report and grew to include not only stump speeches but the formation of an actual Super PAC. Launched in response to the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, which struck down government-imposed limits on "independent" political spending by corporations and the like as an affront to free speech, the Colbert Super PAC was no joke. Through an outrageous series of segments on his Comedy Central show, Colbert and his attorney, former Federal Election Commission chairman Trevor Potter, demonstrated just how ridiculous—and appalling—the rules on Super PACs are. A couple of weeks after SXSW, Colbert's Super PAC—Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, which by that point had raised more that $1 million—won a Peabody Award, one of America's top prizes in journalism. “What an honor! I am truly speechless. Luckily, thanks to Citizens United, my money can speak for me,” Colbert tweeted in response.
Now, of course, the campaign is over, the big money lost, and Colbert's lust for power has abated. But not, apparently, his appetite for money. Last night, in a final demonstration of the kind of abuses the Super PAC regulations permit, Potter told Colbert how to dispose of the fund's remaining $800,000 in a way that would make him very, very happy. For anybody with leftover campaign dollars out there, this video is highly instructive.