“PoliticsNation” MSNBC host Al Sharpton is in hot water for allegedly using his show to benefit labor groups that contributed to his nonprofit.
In the latest development of trading his influence for cash, Sharpton appears to have used his show for the benefit of labor unions. Not only did labor leaders frequently defend their positions as guests, Sharpton played significant lip service to them.
Now it would seem the very same labor groups have donated significantly to his nonprofit, National Action Network. According to Department of Labor records obtained by National Review Online, unions alone have contributed $2.38 million to his group. These union include the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers and the Service Employees International Union.
Additionally, Sharpton has used his show to promote pro-union policies while criticizing those policies unions oppose like right-to-work. In May of 2014, Sharpton echoed claims by the Amalgamated Transit Union that the labor movement is a civil rights issues, just two months after the union contributed $15,000 to his nonprofit.
This isn’t the first time Sharpton has made questionable decisions with his money and nonprofit. On numerous occasions he has allegedly generated revenue for himself and his nonprofit with bribery. According to the New York Post, Sharpton agreed not to label some corporations as racist if they paid him.
With his considerable influence, especially with race issues, such a label could result in boycotts and protests while damaging a company’s reputation. For over a decade, Sharpton was able to coerce thousands of dollars out of companies with this method.
Sharpton has also been accused of dodging millions of dollars in taxes while advocating that everyone should pay more.
Sharpton was more vocal about trading airtime for contributions with his radio show but seemed to have dialed it back for his MSNBC show, possibly due to stricter rules. According to employee rules dictated by Comcast, one of the parent companies of NBC, his actions may have violated internal codes of ethics.
“We believe business decisions should be based on competitive factors. The offer or acceptance of gifts or business entertainment (as defined below) can create the appearance that business decisions are being influenced by other factors,” Comcast’s code of conduct book detailed. “Gifts or business entertainment should never be offered or accepted in order to influence a business or official decision or obtain or retain an improper advantage.”
“A ‘gift’ is anything of tangible or intangible value, including cash, gift certificates or gift cards, transportation, lodging, discounts, promotional items, contributions to a charity or other non-profit organization, and the recipient’s use of the donor’s time, equipment or facilities,” it added.
It is not clear whether television hosts would be subjected to the same rules of conduct or if they or Sharpton specifically have to abide by different rules.
MSNBC, Sharpton and NAN did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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