Some funny financial dealings while on FBI videotape. Of course, the lying slob claims the videotape exonerates him.
We'll see about that.
With a hidden FBI camera rolling inside a New York hotel suite in 2003, an unsuspecting Rev. Al Sharpton, Democratic candidate for president, spoke candidly.Read the rest.
Sharpton offered to help Philadelphia fund-raiser Ronald A. White win a multimillion-dollar business deal, if White helped him raise $50,000 for politics.
White offered $25,000. "If you bring my guys up on this hedge fund, and I have the right conversation," White said, "I'll give you what you need."
"Cool," Sharpton said.
The Inquirer obtained an account of the May 9, 2003, conversation, which was recorded as part of the Philadelphia City Hall corruption case. The tape helped spark a separate inquiry into Sharpton's 2004 campaign and his civil-rights organization, the National Action Network. The FBI-IRS probe resurfaced publicly Wednesday, when Sharpton aides received subpoenas.
In an interview yesterday, Sharpton said there is "absolutely nothing illegal" about tying business deals to fund-raising because he is not a public official.
"The tapes vindicate me," Sharpton said. "They show that I did not talk about bribing a public official or paying money under the table."
The video was recorded by an FBI camera hidden in a lamp inside Suite 34A at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan. Sharpton and White were introduced by La-Van Hawkins, a Detroit businessman.
At the time, FBI agents were investigating White and Hawkins, suspecting that they were involved in pay-to-play in Philadelphia - raising campaign funds for Mayor Street and others in order to win municipal contracts for favored donors. Later FBI agents in the case infamously placed a bug in Street's office, but it was discovered before it recorded anything.
FBI agents tapping White's phones in 2003 recorded more than 20 conversations between White and Sharpton, most of them related to fund-raising for the presidential campaign and an effort to secure a $40 million pension-fund deal in New York.
About a year later, White, Hawkins and a dozen others, including former City Treasurer Corey Kemp, were indicted in Philadelphia on federal pay-to-play corruption charges.
White died before trial. Hawkins was convicted of fraud and perjury and sentenced to 33 months. Kemp is serving a 10-year sentence for corruption, bribery and fraud.
No charges were brought related to Sharpton or the proposed New York pension-fund deal, which never materialized.
However, as The Inquirer reported in 2005, the New York-based investigation of Sharpton has continued. Sources said agents in that case are examining whether Sharpton violated campaign-finance laws or used money donated to his National Action Network for personal use.
FBI spokesman James Margolin in New York declined to comment yesterday.