Saturday, December 15, 2007

Did Sharpton “cut a deal?”

Under the headline

Videotape shows Sharpton cutting a deal
the Phiadelphia Inquirer reports:
With a hidden FBI camera rolling inside a New York hotel suite in 2003, an unsuspecting Rev. Al Sharpton, Democratic candidate for president, spoke candidly.

Sharpton offered to help Philadelphia fund-raiser Ronald A. White win a multimillion-dollar business deal, if White helped him raise $50,000 for politics.

White offered $25,000. "If you bring my guys up on this hedge fund, and I have the right conversation," White said, "I'll give you what you need."

"Cool," Sharpton said.

The Inquirer obtained an account of the May 9, 2003, conversation, which was recorded as part of the Philadelphia City Hall corruption case.

The tape helped spark a separate inquiry into Sharpton's 2004 campaign and his civil-rights organization, the National Action Network.

The FBI-IRS probe resurfaced publicly Wednesday, when Sharpton aides received subpoenas.

In an interview yesterday, Sharpton said there is "absolutely nothing illegal" about tying business deals to fund-raising because he is not a public official.

"The tapes vindicate me," Sharpton said. "They show that I did not talk about bribing a public official or paying money under the table."
That from one of the leaders of America’s religious Left, the Democratic Party and the civil rights movement.

Ol’ JinC’s first thought is: “I wonder what Rev. Jackson will say?”

Second thought: “Who’s surprised by any of it?”

The Inquirer continues:
The video was recorded by an FBI camera hidden in a lamp inside Suite 34A at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan.

Sharpton and White were introduced by La-Van Hawkins, a Detroit businessman.

At the time, FBI agents were investigating White and Hawkins, suspecting that they were involved in pay-to-play in Philadelphia - raising campaign funds for Mayor Street and others in order to win municipal contracts for favored donors. Later FBI agents in the case infamously placed a bug in Street's office, but it was discovered before it recorded anything.

FBI agents tapping White's phones in 2003 recorded more than 20 conversations between White and Sharpton, most of them related to fund-raising for the presidential campaign and an effort to secure a $40 million pension-fund deal in New York.

About a year later, White, Hawkins and a dozen others, including former City Treasurer Corey Kemp, were indicted in Philadelphia on federal pay-to-play corruption charges.

White died before trial. Hawkins was convicted of fraud and perjury and sentenced to 33 months. Kemp is serving a 10-year sentence for corruption, bribery and fraud.

No charges were brought related to Sharpton or the proposed New York pension-fund deal, which never materialized.

However, as The Inquirer reported in 2005, the New York-based investigation of Sharpton has continued.
Now why did the investigation of Sharpton continue?

It’s a safe bet Sharpton will scream it was because of race and his abiding commitment to the civil rights cause.

Back to the Inquirer:
Sources said agents in that case are examining whether Sharpton violated campaign-finance laws or used money donated to his National Action Network for personal use.

FBI spokesman James Margolin in New York declined to comment yesterday.

When Sharpton and White teamed up in 2003, each had a need and a talent. Sharpton had access to business and government officials, and needed help fund-raising for his fledgling national campaign.

White had access to campaign donors and was always looking for connections into business and government deals.
There are a lot more details in the Inquirer story before it ends with:
In [an] interview yesterday, Sharpton said that he has heard some of the wiretaps and they are not incriminating. He said his campaign finance reports show that he has done nothing wrong.

"It's not illegal for me to help guys get contracts . . . making introductions for Mr. White and Mr. Hawkins, if they help me raise money," Sharpton said. "I'm not a public official."

"You can make tapes sound like whatever you want," he said, "but the timing of this is ridiculous."

Sharpton was referring to his recent protests and commentary about the racial controversy in Jena, La., involving six black teenagers accused of beating a white classmate.

"This is government harassment," he said. "I knew this investigation would come back when we started the Jena protests."

Of the investigation, Sharpton predicted, "It went nowhere three years ago and it's going nowhere now."
Hmm? The entire story is here.

Is the federal government really persecuting Sharpton because of his involvement in the “recent protests and commentary about the racial controversy in Jena, La., involving six black teenagers accused of beating a white classmate?”

What do Sharpton’s fellow Democrats, Senate Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, say about that?

Have the Dems who control MSM news reporting asked them?

If not, why not?

What a terrible thing it would be if a religious and civil rights leader was investigated by the federal government just because he was involved in “recent protests and commentary” involving the Jena 6.

What are the NY Times, NPR, and the networks saying?

Do any of you know whether Tawana Brawley’s started a defense fund? Is there PayPal registration?

And, BTW, did Sen. John Kerry ever release all his Navy records to the public?

Stay tuned for more.

And what do you think?


Anonymous said...

No, John, Kerry hasn't released his COMPLETE personnel records as he PROMISED on several occasions. The only releases were heavily redacted versions which do not answer any of the many questions raised by Kerry's critics. As for Sharpton, the guy's a sleazeball, but since he's a protected minority, we can't say that out loud.