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12-14-2012, 12:48 AM
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Comedian Stephen Colbert's massive super PAC cash stash won't fund political attack ads or anything of the sort.

Instead, it's going to six charitable organizations.

Colbert announced Thursday night on Comedy Central's Cobert Report that the $773,704.03 his now-defunct Americans for a Better Tomorrow Tomorrow super PAC, which last month donated to the the nonprofit Colbert Super PAC SHH Institute, has apparently in turn donated the money to a group called the "Ham Rove Memorial Fund" — a group named for a canned ham that vaguely resembled Republican political strategist Karl Rove.

"Ham Rove" served as Colbert's super PAC "chief strategist and principal lunch meat" until Colbert carved him up on a recent program before feeding him to a dog.

In an apparent final act of a nearly year-and-a-half-long gag about the influence of money in politics, Colbert said the Ham Rove Memorial Foundation, which received an anonymous donation of precisely $773,704.03 from an unnamed group with the address of "P.O. Box Bite Me," is giving $125,000 each to the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts of charities, Team Rubicon and Habitat for Humanity, plus another $125,000 to Yellow Ribbon Fund, which supports injured military members.

Colbert, who claimed he's a board member of the Ham Rove Memorial Fund, said he wanted to direct the money to UNICEF. But the rest of the board argued that UNICEF is the name of Colbert's yacht and denied the request, Colbert acknowledged.

Another $125,000 each would go to the Center for Responsive Politics and the Campaign Legal Center, the latter that's led by former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter, who served as legal counsel for Colbert's super PAC.

Colbert wondered aloud why the Ham Rove Memorial Fund would donate money to a pair of groups that respectively focus their efforts on campaign finance-related transparency and reform.

"There are some strings attached," Colbert noted.

With that, he explained that the Center for Responsive Politics would be renaming its conference room the "Colbert Super PAC Memorial Conference Room" while the Campaign Legal Center would rename its meeting space the "Ham Rove Memorial Conference Room."

Colbert turned to the camera.

"Just think," he said. "As the tidal wave of money continues to engulf politics, and these advocates for transparency are moaning about how powerless they are to stop it, little Ham here will be up on that wall watching the whole thing unfold with relish — and, maybe a little dijon."

During the 2012 campaign, Colbert's super PAC raised more than $1 million and inspired numerous college students to form their own super PACs.

On Thursday, Senator Charles E. Schumer sent a letter to StubHub and three other major online ticket exchanges, urging them to not allow sellers to profit from the demand for the concert.

“Every dollar spent for these concert tickets should go to help the victims of Superstorm Sandy, not to line the pockets of unscrupulous scalpers,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement. He urged the Web sites to refuse to list the tickets unless they were sold at face value or the seller promised to give the proceeds to charity.

A spokesman for StubHub, Glenn Lehrman, said it did not have the technology to require sellers to give their profits to charity. He said StubHub had decided the best policy was to give its fees to the cause, rather than reject the tickets altogether.

Tickets for the concert sold out on Ticketmaster within minutes of going on sale on Monday at noon. (Chase Bank customers were allowed to buy tickets at 9 a.m.) That same day StubHub was flooded with tickets to the show at inflated prices. The face value of the 13,500 tickets sold on Ticketmaster ranged from $150 to $2,500, but they have been listed on StubHub for much more.

On Thursday afternoon tickets for the floor in front of the stage were listed for as much as $48,000 while those in the upper level were going for $525 to $3,000.

Mr. Lehrman said StubHub had decided even before the tickets went on sale that it would donate its fees on these sales to the Robin Hood Foundation, which is distributing the money raised by the concert. He said his company had rejected the idea of barring sales because the tickets would have been resold through Craigslist or other sites in any case.

“This is going to take place regardless of whether we enable it or somebody else does, and at least by us enabling it, we can give a good portion to charity,” Mr. Lehrman said.

By Friday afternoon, StubHub, which gets a commission of about 25 percent of the selling price on tickets, had given more than $500,000 to the charity, he said

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