The original purpose of the news conference Al Sharpton held on Wednesday was to announce his plans regarding a response to the Ferguson grand jury report that’s expected any day now.
But the Rev. Al took the occasion to denounce a lengthy New York Times investigative report published on Tuesday in which one of the nation’s main liberal newspapers detailed the extensive debts, both public and private, of one of the nation’s leading firebrands of activist, liberal politics.
According to CNN, the civil rights agitator and MSNBC showman “sharply denounced” the report that he and his companies are currently subject to $4.5 million in state and federal tax liens.
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However, says the story at cnn.com:
Sharpton did not give the outstanding balance owed by him and his for-profit companies –Raw Talent and Revals Communications.
The lengthy piece in the New York Times that drew the wrath of the reverend makes a most interesting observation that’s backed by a ton of data — as Al Sharpton’s influence has risen within liberal and progressive circles, so has the level of the debt that he, his non-profit organizations, and his for-profit companies owe…and seem to avoid paying.
Mr. Sharpton has regularly sidestepped the sorts of obligations most people see as inevitable, like taxes, rent and other bills. Records reviewed by The New York Times show more than $4.5 million in current state and federal tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses.
And though he said in recent interviews that he was paying both down, his balance with the state, at least, has actually grown in recent years. His National Action Network appears to have been sustained for years by not paying federal payroll taxes on its employees.
The Times article points out that Al Sharpton dresses in the finely tailored suits, travels first-class on flights to highly paid appearances, eats at the fanciest restaurants, and mingles with the likes of President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and the top two elected Democrats in New York.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo hailed him as a civil rights icon. President Obama sent an aide to read a message commending Mr. Sharpton’s “dedication to the righteous cause of perfecting our union.” Major corporations sponsored the lavish [birthday] affair.
Still, as Sharpton rubs elbows with the politically powerful, as he boasts about providing advice and guidance on sensitive matters of race relations, and as he pontificates on MSNBC and accuses Republicans of all sorts of bad acts and nasty deeds — as he does all this and rakes in a hefty income, All Sharpton somehow steers clear of the IRS that has targeted numerous conservative groups.
With the tax liability outstanding, Mr. 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” if the failure to turn over or collect taxes is willful.
Mr. Sharpton and the National Action Network have repeatedly failed to pay travel agencies, hotels and landlords. He has leaned on the generosity of friends and sometimes even the organization, intermingling its finances with his own to cover his daughters’ private school tuition.
When he first injected himself prominently into the Ferguson shooting controversy, Al Sharpton spoke at the funeral of Michael Brown. In light of what the New York Times has brought back into the national spotlight regarding Sharpton’s ability to skate around and away from hefty financial obligations, what Rev. Al said about personal responsibility in that politically charged funeral speech takes on new meaning…and more than a tinge of irony:
We’ve got to clean up our community so we can clean up the United States of America!
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