Al Sharpton now seems to be the consensus national spokesman for the African-American community. Sharpton was interviewed on the MSNBC show Meet the Press this weekend (2/14/16), and asked for his opinion on Bernie Sanders, and who he would endorse in the Presidential campaign. On the front page of the Wall Street Journal on Thursday (2/11/16) you see a color photo of Bernie Sanders and Al Sharpton with the headline ‘Sanders meets with Sharpton in Harlem‘. CBS News says Sharpton is Barack Obama’s “go-to black leader“.
In any recent racial flareup from Ferguson to Flint, Sharpton plays a role as the media’s favorite voice for black opinion. We’ve seen a lot of him over the past decades, but who is Al Sharpton?
Before the flap over the Duke Lacrosse team, or Rolling Stone Magazine and the UVA fraternity, there was the Tawana Brawley story; and while the Tawana Brawley story wasn’t originated by Al Sharpton, he took it over, fomented and orchestrated it. Tawana Brawley launched Al Sharpton into the national spotlight on the backs of two police officers and a district attorney, falsely accused.
In November, 1987 Tawana Brawley accused six white men of kidnapping and raping her, and specifically pointed the finger at Steven Pagones, an Assistant District Attorney in Dutchess County. Al Sharpton became Tawana Brawley’s principal advisor and as recorded in Wikipedia, ‘claimed officials all the way up to the state government were trying to cover up defendants in the case because they were white’.
In October, 1988 a grand jury ruled the case was a fabrication. Steven Pagones sued Sharpton and his accomplices for character defamation, and in 1998 Pagones was awarded $345,000. A story published by National Public Radio summarized: ‘Over the years, critics, politicians and news media have demanded that Sharpton apologize for his role and publicly condemn Brawley. But Sharpton has refused, perpetuating the ill will that many still hold for him.’ No kidding.
The National Action Network, founded by Sharpton, was cited in a New York Times story as “sustained for years by not paying federal payroll taxes on its employees” while Sharpton “traveled first class and collected a sizable salary, the kind of practice by nonprofit groups that the United States Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration recently characterized as ‘abusive,’ or ‘potentially criminal’ “.
The National Action Network recently gave Sharpton a whopping great raise, to $412,000. Numbers documented in a story in National Review indicate that the group pays its 34 employees a total of $1.9 million, which indicates that Sharpton’s salary constitutes over 21% of the organization’s total payroll.
He has also apparently played fast and loose with a company he owns and with campaign funds. The New York Post reported: “Sharpton’s company, Rev-Al Communications, owes $447,826 to the state… The firebrand activist still has an outstanding balance of $208,000 with the Federal Election Commission for improperly taking campaign money and government matching funds during his 2004 presidential bid, his April 2014 FEC filing shows.”
Al Sharpton is an ordained Baptist and Pentecostal minister. I wonder if those churches were ever asked whether financial skulduggery like this is acceptable practice for their ministers?
Rev. Sharpton also doesn’t like to pay taxes. According to a New York Times story: “Mr. Sharpton still faces personal federal tax liens of more than $3 million, and state tax liens of $777,657”.
The Bottom Line
Any member of the Baptist and Pentecostal faiths should object to his continuing status as a minister.
Al Sharpton is an exploiter and a user, making his living as a minority charlatan and spokesperson for the African-American community. I’m not aware of a single voice from that community, at any time, that has spoken out to call his bluff. If the African American community wants to be taken seriously, to be regarded as virtuous and worthwhile, then it can’t permit fraudulent and immoral scalawags like Al Sharpton to speak for them.