Comedian and outspoken liberal Bill Maher has thrown $1 million of support behind the super PAC affiliated with President Barack Obama, Priorities USA Action. Maher made the announcement last night on his comedy special for Yahoo.com, "CrazyStupidPolitics."
"I would like tonight to announce a donation to the Obama super PAC, which has the very unfortunate tongue-twister name Priority USA Action. I know, it was named by Borat," Maher said as an oversized check was brought on stage.
In a press release after the donation, Maher mentioned that an Obama victory in the coming election would be "worth a million dollars." He added, "This is the wisest investment I think I could make."
Bill Maher is currently the host of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" and an advisory board member of Project Reason, a foundation that promotes secular values within society. He is also the writer and star of the 2008 film "Religulous."
Maher's donation makes him the third contributor to give $1 million or more to Priorities USA Action, along with DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and the Service Employees International Union.
Super PACs have moved to the fore of campaign finance since they became legal as a result of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in 2010. Unlike a politician's actual campaign, super PACs are allowed to accept unlimited donations on the condition that they do not coordinate with any candidate. They may still use their funds to support or attack any candidate, and politicians may fundraise on a super PAC's behalf.
Initially, the Obama campaign came out against super PACs, even going so far as to say such funds would "open the floodgates for special interests" during the 2010 State of the Union.
By the beginning of February, however, the Obama campaign had changed their tune.
"We simply couldn't sit by and allow $500 million, $600 million, $700 million of negative ads be run against us, with no one on the other side responding," explained Senior Campaign Strategist David Axelrod.
Maher's donation comes as a substantial boon to Priorities USA Action, which had only raised $59,000 in January and $4.4 million overall. For comparison, the Mitt Romney-affiliated Support Our Future and Newt Gingrich-favoring Winning Our Future raised a combined $17 million last month alone.