Jillian Kay Melchior, HeatStreet, June 21, 2016
Donald Trump may have scared off several major corporations from sponsoring the Republican National Convention. But those same companies have not shied away from financially supporting Al Sharpton’s controversial nonprofit, the National Action Network, Heat Street has learned.
Like Trump, Sharpton has courted much controversy over the years, much of which involves race, religion and sexuality. He most notably has yet to apologize for championing Tawana Brawley’s false, racially charged rape accusations against a New York assistant district attorney and a state trooper in the 1980s. Sharpton has also made slurs against Jews, Asians and gays; has been accused of being an FBI informant; and has had numerous tangles over unpaid taxes.
Nevertheless, he and his nonprofits have commanded high levels of support from corporate America in recent decades–including from the very companies now balking at Donald Trump.
Time Warner, UPS and Ford Motor Company have all decided against 2016 GOP convention sponsorship. But all three companies have sponsored Sharpton’s annual convention over the past two years, giving an unnamed amount.
Likewise, Coca-Cola has scaled back its Republican National Convention support to $75,000, down from $660,000 in 2012, after receiving a petition saying that sponsorship was tantamount to an endorsement of Trump’s “hateful and racist rhetoric.”
And Google and Walmart–both reportedly considering dropping their support for the RNC–both sponsored National Action Network’s convention earlier this year.
Macy’s, which has not sponsored past conventions, has publicly denounced Trump while also chronically sponsoring Sharpton’s nonprofit.
The nonprofit also managed to end 2014 with $26,000 in positive net assets, the first time in years National Action Network had not been in the red.
That same year, Sharpton earned a $412,000 salary from National Action Network, a 70 percent raise over his 2013 pay and far beyond the $150,00 median compensation for leaders of similar nonprofits.