Huffpost College
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Remy M. Maisel Headshot

It Turns Out, We Can Indeed Haz Super PAC: Part I

Posted: Updated:

It was a rather non-traditional second night Passover Seder as my uncle and legal advisor Raymond Ragues (of Ragues PLLC) and I nudged Elijah's Cup out of the way and spread out FEC Form 1 on the dining room table.

"You mean this is really, really it?" I was asking in disbelief, as my uncle choked down an unfortunately large morsel of bitter herb and put his hands up in a gesture that meant, "What can I say?"

"This one form, which asks nothing more difficult of me than to spell my name and address properly, is all I need?"

"Yes," my uncle said. "See? You didn't even need me."

"I suppose not," I said, scanning Form 1 again to make sure I hadn't missed any trick questions.

So that was it, then. Confident that I would be able to fill out the form with my peers, I relaxed and put the paperwork aside, and the whole family joined in a discussion of our favorite super PAC-related moments of The Colbert Report.

"Is it really true that a super PAC could pay FEC fines with PAC money?" I asked, remembering one of my favorite moments: the shared phone call with Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Trevor Potter, in which the hosts did a graceful balancing act on the practically nonexistent line between legal discussion and illegal coordination.

"Sure," my uncle said. "How do you think corporations come up with the money to pay fines when they get caught breaking the rules? They pay them with the money they stole."

Even my 13-year-old sister shook her head somberly at what is, even to her, so clearly an injustice.

Back at Penn State, we convened for the first time. I had an outpouring of support from professors and students alike as the news that I planned to do this (crazy? stupid? fun?) thing.

I began this project thinking I might well end up doing it alone, save for a few friends that I could cajole into helping. (Some of them, I'd argue, even owed it to me for toting me along to what I found to be ill conceived and even less well-enacted student productions, which I will not name so as to avoid directly insulting the responsible parties.) I figured I would probably be the only one who cared, and that was fine by me. It would certainly be nice to have some help, or even just some company, but I would be content to go it alone.

Boy, did I ever underestimate my peers. One could hardly blame me for forgetting for a moment that football is not the only thing Penn State students are interested in, given that most of the country routinely does the same. But I should have known better.

In the first few hours after I had set up a Facebook page, which I did in the stolen moments between classes that I now passed exclusively at the Berkey Creamery, working frantically on my laptop, I had several dozen "likes." I sent a quick note to a student-run blog, Onward State, and the student newspaper, the Daily Collegian, announcing my intention to start a political action committee. I delegated the task of creating a Twitter feed and an email address to my assistant treasurer and friend Jess Cody. Out of necessity, I quickly got comfortable asking for help and decisively delegating roles and tasks.

And it wasn't hard. Because everywhere I turned, someone was stepping up and offering help or praise. From professors that encouraged me to borrow their microphones and introduce the lecture hall of 375 students to the ones who offered financial donations, and students who simply said "Where do I sign up?" to the ones who offered to design a logo (it's in the works, don't worry), to the PNC bank employee who offered encouragement, people were coming out of the woodwork to help.

The next order of business would be to meet in person.