• Dave McGuire

Rev Al: The Perpetual Grift

The Clarksvillian

The Reverend Al Sharpton is the man FBI agents referred to as “CI-7”, short for confidential informant #7, in secret court filings. In those documents, investigators confidently vouched for him as being a reliable, productive, and accurate source of private information regarding investigations into illegal activities.

Today Sharpton continues to straddle the corporate and street cultures while maintaining the unofficial position of America’s senior spokesman for civil rights issues. Our collective memories don’t appear to be as strong as needed or the left side of the political aisle simply assumes short memories have washed clean Sharpton’s reputation.

It's always been a public relations song and dance with the reverend casting himself as a bold teller of truths. It's often a situation that doesn't require deep analysis or review. It's a much simpler explanation as he only balances his personal agenda and the desires of those in power.

According to one of the nation's most liberal media outlets, Vice, the description of Sharpton was as follows: "A world-class scumbag with criminally under-acknowledged ties to the Mafia, the FBI, Rudy Giuliani, Nixon administration shysters, corrupt business tycoons, and endless other seedy characters." That's rather hard to dismiss, if you're familiar with the heavy political bias Vice holds for progressive politics.

The idea of someone having such an extensive record of self-promotion, deceit, lying, and fraud as Sharpton now occupying a position of such prominence says a lot about the ethical absence at the heart of elite US political culture. It's highly likely, the same people who enable Sharpton in public, privately find him to be a shallow and manipulative opportunist, but nevertheless understand his drama is good for business.

This duplicity of his personality is nothing new and can be traced back decades on the public record. Where do you begin? Do you start with the man who proudly wore a giant MLK Jr necklace and helped plan the 50th anniversary memorial of King's 1963 March on Washington while he was an active informer for the FBI? The same FBI that worked overtime to undermine King and suppress the black leaders of the day? The Al Sharpton, who previously begged for attention as the leader against the NYPD, while supporting the nomination of William Bratton as police commissioner? The same William Bratton who was responsible for the "broken windows" policing strategy of strict enforcement of trivial offenses. The same reverend that promised to move into Chicago's worst neighborhoods to fight the gun violence which was killing so many minorities in the Windy City. According to Luther Campbell, Sharpton leased an apartment in an affluent part of town and stayed there only once a week while traveling. The hypocrisies are never ending and take very little effort to research and verify.

Sharpton's impulsive 2004 "campaign" for the democratic presidential nomination, today is mostly forgotten or ignored, was regarded as a joke resulting in nearly zero African American support. He finished a distant third in the South Carolina primary - which was known as a heavy African American voting bloc, which Obama won by 29 points just four years later. Adding insult to injury, Sharpton actually pulled off the unimaginable by losing two thirds of the African American vote in his home state of New York. The entire country was given a glimpse into his complete lack of support among the demographic on whose behalf he claims to speak. Keep in mind, the goal was never really about the unreachable nomination. The press heavy, last minute campaign was about getting Sharpton on TV, which ended up paying off in wildly significant financial ways. The voters recognized his motivations when it mattered most, and he was dismissed at the ballot boxes. The man wasn't even capable of spelling the word "respect", never mind providing an ethical brand of leadership.

Sharpton’s instinctual motivations reveal themselves as only focusing on leveraged racial resentment as a means of advancing his self-interests. A perfect example was presented by New York Post columnist Bob McManus, who took Sharpton out to dinner once but drew the line at paying for the $350 glass of cognac Sharpton indicated he wanted.

"Sharpton has a long and well-documented history of leveraging his civil rights profile for his own benefit," as described by self-professed progressive journalist Wayne Barrett, who watched the reverend for 37 years while working at The Village Voice.

It was Barrett that first reported Comcast Cable paid Sharpton’s National Action Network approximately $140,000 as it began the process of acquiring NBC/Universal. The merger was opposed by several prominent inner-city activist such as Jesse Jackson. Their approval concerns were based entirely on Comcasts lack of diversity within both their professional hierarchy as well as business dealings. Unsurprisingly, Sharpton encouraged and promoted the Comcast and NBC/Universal deal. Another strange coincidence? You guessed it - Shortly after the merger was finalized the reverend was given a new 60- minute program on MSNBC prime time.

How much time is necessary for an everyday person to review the fraudulent spending record of the reverend and his "nonprofits"? It's literally an investment in your time - no pun intended. As a starter, his blending of ethics and finances are consistently lengthy. A past itemized total of $4.5 million in taxes, while maintaining a jet setting lifestyle, should be enough to disqualify him from public ethics and glaze your eyes with its length. As public as that information may be to media outlets, any mentions of those concerns are immediately dismissed by his supporters and political elites - without explanation. Then again, those issues are nothing new as Sharpton has a nearly annual case of misappropriated funds and unpaid taxes.

And just when you thought the drama of this year could not get any worse? In steps Al Sharpton to insert himself into the discussion of public defunding of police departments.

The political and media heavyweights know he cannot be trusted. And deep down, even his fellow party members know the same. Yet with a wink and nod, you can rest assured this swindler will be smiling ear-to-ear as he ramps up his very own election year fundraising.