Isabel Vincent, New York Post, April 19, 2009
The Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network have been slapped with a record $285,000 fine for violating a slew of federal election rules during his 2004 bid for president, the Post has learned.
In a decision to be made public next month, the Federal Election Commission found that Sharpton’s Democratic primary campaign accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from private sources.
It also “kept poor records of its activities and expenditures” and commingled funds with Sharpton’s civil-rights group. All are prohibited under the Federal Election Campaign Act.
Earlier this month, Sharpton and former campaign manager Andrew Rivera signed an agreement with the FEC to pay the fine–among the highest in the regulatory body’s 34-year history.
“Sharpton 2004 materially misstated its receipts and disbursements, as well as cash on hand in 2004,” says the April 8 FEC report, which followed an investigation of the Sharpton campaign’s expenses.
At one point, Sharpton racked up $509,188 in campaign expenses on his American Express card. His campaign committee paid $121,996, according to the FEC, but the bulk was paid by the National Action Network and two private corporations controlled by Sharpton. A further $65,000 was paid by unknown sources, the FEC investigation found.
Sharpton also received “excessive in-kind contributions” from La-Van Hawkins, a wealthy supporter and principal of the now-defunct Hawkins Food Group.
According to an earlier audit, Sharpton was to pay a $500,000 penalty.