You have to ask what’s more nauseating? Al Sharpton’s threats to cry “racism” at corporations who don’t ante up or the corporations themselves who meekly acquiesce to the Reverend’s bullying tactics?
Sharpton has a lot of pull with New York state and local government officials and he has traded that influence for large sums of cash from companies who seek to avoid being labeled “racist.”
The mafia couldn’t run a shakedown operation this efficiently.
Want to influence a casino bid? Polish your corporate image? Not be labeled a racist?
Then you need to pay Al Sharpton.
For more than a decade, corporations have shelled out thousands of dollars in donations and consulting fees to Sharpton’s National Action Network. What they get in return is the reverend’s supposed sway in the black community or, more often, his silence.
Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal met with the activist preacher after leaked e-mails showed her making racially charged comments about President Obama. Pascal was under siege after a suspected North Korean cyber attack pressured the studio to cancel its release of “The Interview,” which depicts the assassination of dictator Kim Jong-un.
Pascal and her team were said to be “shaking in their boots” and “afraid of the Rev,” The Post reported.
No payments to NAN have been announced, but Sharpton and Pascal agreed to form a “working group” to focus on racial bias in Hollywood.
The National Action Network can organize boycotts or protests that present a PR nightmare for any corporation. It’s an extremely efficient method of extracting protection money. Like the mafia guy who tells a store owner it would be a shame if his business went up in flames, NAN’s threats of “community action” against companies keeps them paying for Sharpton’s restraint.
Tell me this doesn’t sound like a criminal enterprise:
“Al Sharpton has enriched himself and NAN for years by threatening companies with bad publicity if they didn’t come to terms with him. Put simply, Sharpton specializes in shakedowns,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal & Policy Center, a Virginia-based watchdog group that has produced a book on Sharpton.
And Sharpton, who now boasts a close relationship with Obama and Mayor de Blasio, is in a stronger negotiating position than ever.
“Once Sharpton’s on board, he plays the race card all the way through,” said a source who has worked with the Harlem preacher. “He just keeps asking for more and more money.”
And the amount of money flowing into NAN and finding its way into his and nis crony’s pockets is staggering:
In 2008, Plainfield Asset Management, a Greenwich, Conn.-based hedge fund, made a $500,000 contribution to New York nonprofit Education Reform Now. That money was immediately funneled to the National Action Network.
The donation raised eyebrows. Although the money was ostensibly to support NAN’s efforts to bring “educational equality,” it also came at a time that Plainfield was trying to get a lucrative gambling deal in New York.
Plainfield had a $250 million stake in Capital Play, a group trying to secure a license to run the coming racino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. Capital Play employed a lobbyist named Charlie King, who also was the acting executive director of NAN.
Sharpton has said that most of the Plainfield contribution went to pay King’s salary.
King’s company, the Movement Group, was paid $243,586 by NAN in 2008, tax records show.
NAN itself is corrupt, being caught by the IRS for not paying more than a million dollars in payroll taxes, and being accused of keeping shoddy records.
With companies terrified of him and government officials in league with him, Sharpton is often called the most powerful African American in the country. A frequent White House visitor and with many friends in Washington, it’s not likely that any serious investigation into his or his organization’s activities will be forthcoming.