Al Sharpton hosts a show for MSNBC and is a public speaker, both of which bring in money for him. However, there are more details behind his finances that have raised some eyebrows - and, it's just not the money he owes in back taxes or the fact that his ventures are in debt.
Melissa Francis, host of Money With Melissa Francis on Fox Business News, spoke with Fox News' Megyn Kelly about how Sharpton's political and financial backing by Comcast and NBC is deeper than it appears.
Francis reports that Comcast, MSNBC and NBC Universal all directly funded Sharpton's National Action Network (NAN) as recently as this October. Each were “Preacher Level” sponsors at a combined 60th birthday party/fundraising event for Sharpton that netted an estimated $1 million in donations.
In ascending order, the sponsor levels noted on the event program were “Media Sponsor,” “Contributor,” “Medallion,” “Track Suit,” “Hair,” “Brooklyn,” “Preacher,” “Author,” and “Activist.”
When asked about the donations, NAN's response was less than forthright:
“We can't confirm or give comment that quickly. We have not done our audit for 2014, so how would anyone know when there has been no report on who gave what?”
Sharpton and the cable giants have done business in the past, as well. In 2010, Sharpton spent time lobbying Congress when Comcast wanted the acquisition of NBC Universal to go through. The following year, Sharpton was given his own show.
Recently, Al Sharpton has embroiled himself in the shooting deaths of two NYPD officers, saying that the death of Eric Garner following a physical arrest was a “trigger” for Ismail Brinsley to get revenge. Earlier, Sharpton directly inserted himself into the Ferguson controversy, a conflagration that ultimately led to community-wide devastation from vandalism and looting.
Situations like these between Sharpton and his donors are not unique. A New York Post article from 2008 provides several other examples of instances where Sharpton threatened boycotts or negative publicity to garner large donations. Once donations were received, these companies were given public support or even awards of recognition.
Certainly, as Sharpton pushes himself further into the national spotlight, the origin and methods of his funding will become the subject of heightened scrutiny. Whether or not anything comes of it is up to who is in charge of the investigative process in the federal government.