Sunday, August 15, 2010

How Much Does It Cost to Buy Al Sharpton's Silence? Ask Michael Bloomberg

Nothing like having deep pockets to help buy off your political opponents. This may not be illegal but it sure does stink to high heaven.
The Rev. Al Sharpton finally disagreed with Mayor Bloomberg a week ago on how to change elections in the city. It was a long time coming.

The most prominent African-American voice in New York has a warm and productive relationship with its richest and most powerful white man. They don't always agree, but they always get along.

On Aug. 7, Sharpton said he would fight any push to make city elections nonpartisan - which Bloomberg hoped to do this fall.

His public stand helped kill the idea. Barely 48 hours later, Bloomberg pulled the plug.

Two years earlier, though, Sharpton stayed mum while Bloomberg rammed through a law to extend term limits so he could run again.


Perhaps because, as the city was convulsed over term limits, Sharpton's National Action Network got a $110,000 grant from a brand-new nonprofit funded by Bloomberg.

In fact, on the very day Bloomberg announced he wanted to run again, the first $50,000 of the grant was transferred to the National Action Network.

The details are buried in filings from the Education Equality Project, a group started two months earlier by Sharpton and Bloomberg's school chancellor, Joel Klein, to close the gap between white and minority students.

The project reported only two cash donations in 2008, gifts of $250,000 each from two anonymous donors.

Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser would not discuss specifics, but said the mayor gave money to the education project in 2008 - which means Bloomberg was one of those two donors.

The National Action Network got $50,000 on Oct. 2, 2008, and the remaining $60,000 on Oct. 17, 2008. The Education Equality Project's tax filing claims there was no conflict of interest in giving money to a group run by one of its own founders: "There is no relationship between the Organization and NAN."

Sharpton told the Daily News last week the National Action Network never got any of Bloomberg's money - "not that I know of."
Translation: Oh, hell yeah, we took his money, it's just you weren't supposed to know about it!

No comments: