AUSTIN -- Paul Benefiel still can't believe it.

I got this actual e-mail from someone named Paul Benefiel, a student at the University of Texas at Austin -- the fightin' only part of Texas that's liberal! Comedy Central Host Stephen Colbert announced on Thursday night's edition of the Colbert Report.

A sophomore majoring in chemical engineering at UT, Benefiel has politics on his mind. Like many young adults across the country, he sees Colbert's sarcastic take on political commentary as a vehicle for bringing serious issues to the national conversation.

Using satire to get a message across really rings in people's ears, said Benefiel. It's entertaining, it's fun. It keeps the discourse light-hearted.

After a long search beginning with the Federal Election Commission and ending with a Colbert Report producer, Benefiel had e-mailed Colbert asking permission to start a campus Colbert super PAC.

I said I really like what you're doing, recounted Benefiel. This is going to be something that I can really get behind.

The fake political pundit's real super PAC Americans For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow takes satirical aim at federal election laws, a system Benefiel believes is broken thanks to the Citizens United v. FEC court decision that allowed for the creation of super PACs.

Now you can give unlimited money to an organization that doesn't coordinate with a candidate, said Benefiel. Come on. That is bribing. That is corruption right there.

It's a message Colbert has championed for months through online and televised commercials paid for by his super PAC. Thursday the popular Comedy Central host granted Benefiel his blessing.

Mr. Benefiel, your organization will now be known as 'Texans For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow,' Colbert announced.

Benefiel's request seems to have given Colbert an idea as well.

I want every college across this great nation to have their own my super PAC, Colbert said.

Complete with advertising a super PAC kit and promising a possible personal school appearance, Colbert seems to be hoping more college activists follow Benefiel's lead.

Any organization on campus that wants to get involved with this is more than welcome, said Benefiel. Republican, democrat, libertarian, socialist, I don't care. If you agree with the message, you should get involved.

Benefiel himself credits an Intro to American Politics professor for helping spark his interest in campaign finance.

He got me thinking about how it actually works and how interest groups and political action committees and all of this can really influence politics, said Benefiel.

That professor is Samuel Workman, assistant professor in the University of Texas Department of Government. Workman says he wasn't surprised at Benefiel's success in getting Colbert's support, describing Benefiel as a bright student who showed a ready interest in government.

It's incumbent upon us as professors to get them to care about government in general and beyond UT, said Workman. Because these are the individuals in the next 30 to 35 years that are going to decide essentially how the country fares in this century.

With Colbert's consent, Benefiel vows to keep up his campaign.

This is a cause that I am absolutely, 100 percent behind, said Benefiel. It needs to be done and I know that I can get passionate about it to really drive this forward.


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