Skip to comments.Does Stephen Colbertís Endorsement of His Sister Violate Election Laws?
Posted on 04/25/2013 12:52:55 PM PDT by nickcarraway
As the faux-conservative Colbert Report host, Stephen Colbert has lampooned campaign finance laws and the U.S. electoral system by starting his own super PAC and announcing bids for the presidency and the president of the United States of South Carolina. But another Colbertthis one with a hard t at the endis also vying for the political spotlight: Elizabeth Colbert Busch, Stephens older sister, whos facing off against avid Appalachian Trail hiker and former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford in a May 7 special election for South Carolinas 1st Congressional District. Colbert has twice devoted show segments to his sisters campaign, including one endorsing her candidacy, and has mocked Sanford on countless occasions. With the shows nightly viewership of 1.5 million and the documented Colbert bump in a politicians support after an appearance, is Colbert violating election laws by blending his hosting role with his sisters campaign?
Probably not. The central law in play is the Federal Communications Commissions equal-time rule. Beginning with the Radio Act of 1927, which Congress enacted in response to fears of broadcasters ability to sway elections by limiting a candidates access to the airwaves, radio and television networks have been required to offer equal airtime (or opportunities to purchase advertising at a reduced price) to all candidates if they request it. Exemptions were later added for documentaries, newscasts, news interviews, and on-the-spot news events.
Since it covers news stories and political issues, The Colbert Report would likely fall under the newscast or news interviews exceptions. This exemption would permit Colbert to interview his sister on his show without giving Sanford equal time. However, Sanford would have seven days after Colbert Buschs first appearance to file an equal-time request; if turned down, Sanford could file a complaint to the FCC.
(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...
This is especially true when said lib is famous.
No matter how good/bad Mark Sanford may or may not be, it would be a serious mistake for conservative SC voters to elect liberal Colbert whatshername.