Al Sharpton Organization: Tax Delinquent?

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple writes about a New York Times article on an Al Sharpton organization’s tax problems…

“Mr. Sharpton has regularly sidestepped the sorts of obligations most people see as inevitable, like taxes, rent and other bills,” claims the piece. Even with his tax liabilities, notes the story, Sharpton “traveled first class and collected a sizable salary.”

Though he anchors “Politics Nation” on MSNBC on weeknights, Sharpton is a target of far greater resonance than a cable news host. The longtime rabble-rousing Brooklyn preacher and civil rights activist has become a player of national import under the Obama administration. As explained in an August piece in Politico Magazine by Glenn Thrush, Sharpton had transformed himself into the Obama administration’s “go-to man on race.” After the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August, Sharpton established himself as the “de facto contact and conduit for a jittery White House seeking to negotiate a middle ground between meddling and disengagement.”

All of which makes him a large and fair target for a newspaper investigation.

And then we get to the (relevant to this blog) part of the Wemple’s article…

MSNBC has all but invited this embarrassment. As the Erik Wemple Blog has reported, Sharpton negotiated his contract with MSNBC under the stipulation that his work as an activist would continue. In remarks in D.C. last year, Sharpton recalled what he told MSNBC President Phil Griffin about his status: “I said, well, I’m still going to run NAN, I’m still going to be an activist.” Griffin responded positively. “He said, ‘Put it in the contract. We’d never interfere with what you’re doing, your civil rights work,’” Sharpton quoted Griffin as saying.

On one level, Sharpton’s various hats carry implications for the ethics of his work at MSNBC. Being an anchor on a news network while also serving as a big shot at the White House and the head of a civil rights group creates a jumble of undiagrammable — and almost unknowable — conflicts of interest.

Yet the other level of concern is precisely what the Times has exposed: Sharpton Inc. is a sprawling concern, clearly more than one overbooked man can handle. By employing Sharpton as a prominent figure in its news rotation, MSNBC must own the failings of his empire. A spokeswoman for MSNBC says the network has no comment on the situation.

Well now we have two cable news networks with increasingly radioactive hosts; CNN with Fareed Zakaria and MSNBC with Al Sharpton. Some will say Sharpton already was radioactive and there is truth in that. However most of Sharpton’s prior baggage has been of the divisive ideological kind…a type of radioactivity that MSNBC was inoculated against because it was craving the demographic Sharpton catered to. But tax troubles and fiscal administration issues are a different kind of radioactivity which crosses ideological boundaries relatively intact.

10 Responses to “Al Sharpton Organization: Tax Delinquent?”

  1. You can’t seriously be comparing Al Sharpton’s and Fareed Zakaria’s ethical problems. The worse that can happen to Zakaria is he could lose his job (although that is a very long shot IMO). More likely he gets a short suspension and has to apologize for being sloppy writer.

    Sharpton is in a much more serious situation.This looks like the kind of stuff that got Charlie Rangel in hot water. He’s already controversial so I can’t see MSNBC keeping him on air if this actually gets serious.

    For me Sharpton getting canned would be a nice exchange for giving JDB Chuck Todd’s old show.

  2. This is what happens when the IRS takes sides and lets scofflaws like Sharpton skate with no consequences. Let’s see what happens, but don’t hold your breath!

  3. Does anybody expect anyone in this administration to let anything happen to Sharpton?

  4. That’s a lot of blueberry pie. The tax issue is a made-for SNL skit. Should be great.

  5. savefarris Says:

    Does anybody expect anyone in this administration to let anything happen to Sharpton?

    Hey thanks Wemple: now that you’ve alerted everyone to the situation, we’re almost guaranteed to see a pardon on January 19, 2017.

  6. This isn’t new, though. Sharpton has had tax issues for years! I’m pretty sure before he even joined MSNBC, we were talking about him and his group not paying their taxes.

    He CONTINUES to be a fraud. No surprises there.

  7. Sharpton shouldn’t be a host. If MSNBC must use him, he can be a political analyst/contributor. Who are his fans anyway? He’s so repulsive.

  8. Who are his fans anyway?

    Good question. The show sucks, and gets terrible ratings. MSNBC’s schedule grinds to a halt at 6 and never recovers.

  9. You can’t seriously be comparing Al Sharpton’s and Fareed Zakaria’s ethical problems.

    I wasn’t. I didn’t. I compared the fact that both are radioactive to their networks. The whys aren’t the issue.

  10. savefarris Says:

    Get the President’s back: you can blow off paying your taxes

    Speak less than positively about the President: get your a*# indicted.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/102183306

    Liberals are gonna wish they hadn’t opened Pandora’s Box…

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