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Potter: Current Campaign Finance System Could Depress Voter Turnout Potter: Current Campaign Finance System Could Depress Voter Turnout

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Potter: Current Campaign Finance System Could Depress Voter Turnout

If campaign spending remains unregulated and uncontrolled, it will lead to a surge of negative campaign ads that in turn will hurt voter participation, Trevor Potter, the Campaign Legal Center president and former member of the Federal Election Commission, said in a speech Wednesday.

"All of this will be done with unremittingly negative ads created by unaccountable media advisers for unaccountable 'independent' 'outside' groups," Potter said at the American Law Institute annual meeting. "Because if the candidates do not have to stand behind their advertising, and answer to the public for it, there is nothing to prevent every minute of every campaign ad being negative, because those ads are more effective--they do a better job of depressing the opponent's vote."

Potter's speech goes on to attack the FEC ("All of this is observed--overseen would be the wrong word, because it would suggest some activity--by a Federal Election Commission riven with partisan and philosophical gridlock"), congressional Republicans for failing to get behind the Disclose Act and, of course, the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

But in his opening, Potter describes how he came to be Stephen Colbert's lawyer and why The Colbert Report's work on campaign finance rules has found such popularity.

It is not, Potter says, that Colbert makes complex issues easy to understand or that people are actually interested in the intricacies of IRS rules. Rather, "The Colbert Report coverage is so successful because it accurately describes a campaign finance world that seems too surreal to be true."

Whatever your thoughts on campaign finance, check out Potter's full speech here. And below is one of Potter's appearances on The Colbert Report:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Super PAC SHH! - 501c4 Disclosure - Trevor Potter
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

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