SC: These c4s have created an unprecedented, unaccountable, untraceable tsunami, and I feel like an idiot for not having one. Here to make my move to secrecy and obfuscation completely transparent, please welcome former general counsel to the McCain campaign and my personal lawyer, Trevor Potter.
SC: Now, Trevor, I have all these people at the bottom of the screen who’ve been giving me money, individual Americans. But I haven’t gotten any of the big corporate money. That’s why I have a SuperPAC! Why wouldn’t a corporation give money?
TP: Well, they’d be nervous about giving in a way that their name is publicly disclosed. People might object to what they’ve done: their shareholders, their customers…
SC: Okay, so that’s where a c4 comes in. A corporation or an individual; can give to a c4, and nobody gets to know that they did it. Right?
TP: That’s right.
SC: Okay, so how do I get one?
TP: And that money can be used for politics.
SC: Oh great, that’s good too—
TP: So, we need to get you one.
SC: As long as it goes through me, it can go to anything it wants. So how do I gets me one, Trevor?
TP: Well, lawyers often form Delaware corporations, which we call shell corporations, that just sit there until they’re needed—
SC: So they’re just some anonymous shell corporation?
TP: Right, and I happen to have one here in my briefcase.
SC: Let’s see it. What’s it called?
TP: It’s called Anonymous Shell Corporation—
SC: That’s got a real ring to it Trev.
TP: —registered in Delaware—
SC: I don’t have to go to Delaware, do I?
TP: No, it’s already been done for you.
SC: [whistles] Okay, okay, badadum, badadum, okay: Anonymous Shell Corporation, filed in Delaware. Okay, I got this; so now I have a c4?
TP: Right, now we need to turn it into your shell corporation, your anonymous one, and we do that by having normally a Board of Directors meeting.
SC: And who’s on the Board of Directors?
TP: Well, just you. We can—
SC: Sounds like a nice group of people.
TP: —just have you do this.
SC: Okay, let’s do this. [hammers gavel] And I’ve shattered my champagne glass. I hope there’s no sensitive electronic equipment down there. Alright, call to order. Let’s do this thing.
TP: Alright, so, this says that you are the sole director of the corporation—
SC: I am. [begins signing document]
TP: —and that you are now electing yourself President, Secretary, and Treasurer—
SC: Sounds like a great board.
TP: —and you are authorizing the corporation to file the papers with the IRS in May…2013.
SC: So I could get money for my c4, use that for political purposes and nobody knows anything about it til six months after the election.
TP: That’s right, and even then they won’t know who your donors are.
SC: That’s my kind of campaign finance restriction. Okay, so now I’ve signed it. I have a c4?
TP: You have a c4, it’s up and going.
SC: So, without this, I am transparent. With this, I am opaque. Without it, you get to know. With it, “You go to hell.” Without it, “Here’s who gave me my money.” With it, “You know what, your mutha gave me my money.” Well, I like that, Trev. Okay, now I can get corporate unlimited donations of unlimited amount for my c4, what can I do with my money?
TP: Well, that c4 can take out political ads and attack candidates or promote your favourite ones—
TP: —as long as it’s not the principal purpose for spending its money.
SC: No, the principal purpose is an educational entity, right? I want to educate the public that gay people cause earthquakes.
TP: There are probably some c4s doing that.
SC: Can I take my c4 money and then donate it to my SuperPAC?
TP: You can… [sly nod]
SC: [smile spreads slowly across face] Wait, SuperPACs are transparent—
TP: Right, and…
SC: —and the c4 is secret. So I can take secret donations from my c4 and give it to my supposedly transparent SuperPAC.
TP: And it’ll say given by your c4.
SC: What is the difference between that and money laundering?
TP: It’s hard to say.