An unlikely deal has been brokered between Stephen Colbert and Rep. Nancy Pelosi: The late-night comedian will back a bill that would require corporations to more fully disclose their financial contributions for political ads and the House minority leader will encourage fellow Democratic lawmakers to appear on his sometimes irreverent show.
Pelosi, who made her own appearance Wednesday after having vowed she would never do so, stopped by to promote the campaign finance reform legislation. In a recent YouTube video, Pelosi, partly in jest, attacked Colbert’s "super PAC" as an example of why the system needs to be changed.
“If we want to just cancel the election and have the wealthiest people in America -- and you know what their names are -- give tens of millions of dollars, we could just ask them who do they want to be president? Who do they want to run Congress?” Pelosi said on the show.
“That would be polite,” Colbert quipped.
“No, that would be a plutocracy and we are a democracy, and our founders intended that the people would decide,” she said.
“You have a fetish for transparency,” Colbert said.
The rise this election cycle of super PACs that allow unlimited donations from corporations, unions and individuals to support political activities has led Democrats to revisit their push for wider disclosure requirements.
Critics argue that super PACs have undue influence over elections and can accept large contributions from secret sources if they launder the contributions through nonprofit groups. Recently released financial disclosure forms, including those for Colbert’s PAC, listed the names of many of the donors.
Colbert and Pelosi, both well-known Catholics, noted the start of Lent and bantered a bit in Latin.
“This is part of my Lenten good works: be kind to Republicans,” Pelosi said. “So here I am.”
They also discussed the Obama administration’s new contraception rules that have been criticized by Republicans, and were recently the subject of an all-male committee hearing in the House.
“Why are women so obseseed with controlling their own body?” Colbert asked.
Pelosi, who led Democrats is convening another panel on the topic Thursday, with a female health expert suggested: “Maybe they need a lesson in birds and bees.”
Finally, Colbert posed the deal: If he threw his weight behind the disclosure legistaion, would she encourage lawmakers to appear on his “Better Know a District” segment, in which he often satirizes lawmakers and the areas they represent?
“Deal,” she said.
And they shook on it.