Video Exercise

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The comedian Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, recently established a Super PAC known as “Colbert PAC” (http://www.colbertsuperpac.com/). As we discuss in Chapter 4, Super PACs are a relatively new form of independent group that can raise and spend money in unlimited sums during political campaigns. Colbert’s PAC was approved by the Federal Elections Commission in June 2011

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/fec-allows-colbert-to-form-super-pac-for-2012-elections/2011/06/30/AGxVGBsH_story.html

In this video, Colbert interviews two people: an opponent of most regulations of campaign finance, Sean Parnell, and a supporter of these regulations, Sheila Krumholz. Even though many parts of these interviews are humorous, they touch on several relevant questions about campaign finance.

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/392261/july-18-2011/colbert-super-pac---campaign-finance
1.
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Colbert reveals that Parnell doesn’t quite remember the text of the First Amendment. But why is Parnell even talking about this amendment? How does it bear on the question of campaign finance?
2.
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Krumholz asserts that money is “power.” According to her, what kinds of effects does money have? How else might money influence politics? What are some limits on its power?
3.
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Krumholz is particularly concerned about the fact that some kinds of political groups do not have to disclose the names of their donors. Why is this problem? Why should the names of donors be disclosed?
4.
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Parnell asserts that there is not much evidence that money is corrupting. Do you think this is true? What evidence is there?

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