Dahlia Lithwick has a piece up about this in Slate.
I like Colbert and have caught his sketches quite a few times in the last couple years. I think what his SuperPAC has been doing–educating the public, through comedy, that we’re being made fools of by corporate money and high-powered lawyers–is right in the tradition of Will Rogers. As you know, I look at campaign funding beyond a certain amount as bribery, not speech. In most countries, when money starts moving around in order to secure certain benefits from a government, that’s not speech.
However, coordinating your purchase of media resources in order to get your speech out on behalf of a candidate is something we associate with political parties. So, to me, the Citizens United framework suggests that, for example, there be a “Koch Brothers Party”. Its supporters can register with the state, and then we all know who supports them. This is what should be insisted upon with the so-called Tea Party, by the way. When the government touches my future benefits, or raises my taxes to support tax cuts for the rich, I want to know who in my neighborhood is registered “T”. Not just “R” or “D”. Or “T” hiding inside of “R”.
I always liked retired Justice John Stevens’ saying that “money is not speech. Money is property.” It was no surprise, then, that Colbert interviewed Stevens on the Colbert Report. It was not the best sketch, though, and I think Colbert blew the chance to let Stevens speak more, and at length, about the wisdom of his logic. It didn’t have to be a wise crack every ten seconds like it was.