Stephen Colbert might run for president. But is this just another publicity stunt, or is Colbert really going to be on the ballot?

It doesn’t matter. Colbert is exposing the mechanics (and money) behind elections — something he’s likely been plotting since he launched his Colbert super PAC in June.

When he told the “Colbert Report” audience last Thursday that he’s forming an exploratory committee for the presidency, his lawyer, Trevor Potter, explained that Colbert could no longer run, nor coordinate with, his super PAC. He could, however, transfer ownership to anyone he chooses. He chose Jon Stewart.

Stewart pointed out that, because the two are business partners, there must be some rule against his taking over. Potter assured them they were in the clear. Audience members groaned at the notion.

The purpose of Colbert’s bid is to expose the hypocrisy and legal gray areas behind an election. Given his position and the lengths he’s willing to go to make a point, Colbert could soon emerge as something weightier than a joke candidate: an agent for change in campaign finance reform.