As part of the ongoing IRS scandal over its scrutiny of applications for non-profit status by organizations affiliated with the Tea Party movement, comedian Stephen Colbert invited Washington lawyer Trevor Potter – former chairman of the Federal Elections Commission and current president of the Campaign Legal Center – back on his show. Last year, Potter helped Colbert establish political action committees the Colbert Super PAC, the Colbert Super PAC SHH , and the Ham Rove Memorial Fund, which became the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of dollars that, courtesy of federal campaign finance and tax laws, vanished without a trace from the Colbert Super PAC following the election.
On Monday night, Colbert learned that his PAC, a 501(c)(4), was never granted tax exempt status by the IRS because the Colbert Super PAC SHH never filed for it, even though it is a registered Delaware corporation and hundreds of thousands of dollars have passed through it.
“Your lawyers advised you that there is no legal requirement that you file with the IRS an application for exemption,” Potter explained.
“Wait a second,” Colbert replied. “You can form a 501(c)(4) without asking to form one? These tea party anti- big government organizations didn’t have to ask big government for permission but they did anyway?”
“Right,” Potter replied.
Now that the IRS is in political hot water, it might be under some pressure to approve tax exempt status for any Tea Party group that applied, Colbert sid, and so with Potter’s help, he filed for tax-exempt status for the Colbert Super PAC SHH. But, the comedian said, he was filing for tax-exempt status under a different name because the Colbert Super PAC SHH “is not sufficiently Tea Party for me. I just want to put a little bit more pressure on the IRS.”
The new name under which the Colbert Super PAC SHH will do business as a 501(c)(4): The Making America a Better Place Tea Party Patriot 9-12 Place to Constitution America Tea Party Nominally Social Welfare Conservative Political Action Tea Party Secret Money Liberty I Dare You to Deny This Application of America Tea Party.
Stay tuned. To see the entire clip, go to: http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/426445/may-20-2013/mazda-scandal-booth—the-irs—trevor-potter