The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

13 December 2007

Al Sharpton Federal Raid Ignites Pre-Holiday Talk Radio


Sharpton Raid By Feds Provides Shot In Arm For Talk


Especially as the holidays approach, talk radio sometimes must work a bit harder to find great topics. With a federal raid aimed at the Reverend Al Sharpton and his entourage making headlines today, this is not one of those difficult days.

According to the New York Daily News, New York Post and Times, the FBI is targeting Sharpton financial records going back as far as the 1990s, carried out through a series of raids on staffers and former associates.

Sharpton didn't waste any time attaching political motives to the early- morning wake-up call by federal agents.

From the New York Post:

December 13, 2007 -- The IRS yesterday hit several employees and consultants of the Rev. Al Sharpton's civil-rights organization with subpoenas demanding a wide range of documents as part of an ongoing investigation, sources said.

Charlie King, acting executive director of Sharpton's National Action Network, said he did not know the nature of the investigation, but noted that Sharpton himself was not among the four people he knew to have received the subpoenas.

The Internal Revenue Service probe is the latest in a long line of investigations into Sharpton and the National Action Network, his Harlem-based nonprofit group, over the years.

"Here we go again," said Sharpton, who claimed that prior probes have suspiciously come to public light when he was in the midst of making political moves. "This is more smearing.

"I'm getting ready to make a presidential endorsement," noted Sharpton, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.

"How many state and federal investigations have you been through with me? Whatever it is, it's part of the territory. I'm a public figure."

Caught a day late and a dollar short, the New York Times is forced to quote from the Daily News and Post to provide its own coverage:

The National Action Network, a nonprofit organization based in Harlem, also received a subpoena for corporate records, Mr. King said.

The New York Post identified one of the four people who have received subpoenas as Rachel Noerdlinger, Mr. Sharpton’s spokeswoman. This morning, Ms. Noerdlinger confirmed that she had received a subpoena and said that her lawyers were reviewing it.

The Daily News, which reported that as many as 10 associates of Mr. Sharpton received subpoenas, quoted one of them, Carl Redding, who oversaw the staff for eight years, as saying, “It was like a sting or a raid. They converged on everybody.”

Given all of Sharpton's past grandstanding on race- relations issues and talk radio content, which the reverend seems to feel he has the right to dictate, today's news couldn't be happier for his foes in media and politics.

Will he use his own syndicated radio talk show to fire back at the FBI and IRS?

According to EIB Central Command in Sunny South Florida, talk titan Rush Limbaugh plans not only a discussion today but some fresh Sharpton parodies as well, with the finishing touches being made as we speak.

In addition, other hosts / Sharpton critics such as Mark Levin and Sean Hannity are likely chomping at the bit.

Bloggers aren't sitting out the story, either, with Michelle Malkin leading the way this morning, in addition to Instapundit, Lucianne, Stereohyped, Betsy's Page and others.

Thanks to the Reverend Al, little heavy lifting will be required today.

UPDATE: Sharpton delivered an unhinged tirade at a press conference held just a short time ago. From WCBS:

NEW YORK (AP) ― The Rev. Al Sharpton angrily denounced reports Thursday that federal authorities are investigating his 2004 presidential bid, suggesting that the Justice Department was retaliating against him for his civil rights advocacy.

"I have probably been under every investigation known to man and I can't remember a time that I've not been under investigation," Sharpton said at a hastily called news conference at the Harlem headquarters of his civil rights organization.

"So when this latest story surfaced, it was my inclination to not even respond. The issues raised are issues that we've learned over and over again, particularly when we are approaching an election season."

RUSH unveils new "Justice Brothers" parody, has Sharpton calling Bill Clinton for help.

FOR New England regional talk radio updates, see our other site.

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Bottom Sharpton image: WCBS


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