Fifteen year’s later, the check is still in the mail.
Rev. Al Sharpton’s failed 2004 presidential campaign still owes more than $900,000. The unpaid debt of his committee, “Sharpton 2004,” has remained unchanged for a decade, according to its most recent FEC filing January, 2020.
The most recent filing was made after a New York Post inquiry to Sharpton’s reps. The campaign previously missed more than a years worth of filing deadlines, earning multiple letters of rebuke from the feds.
“If committees are unable to pay debts they can file a debt settlement plan with the FEC … Committees could not just decide not to pay,” an FEC spokesman told The Post.
The holy man’s campaign is in the hole, despite him personally earning more money than ever. In addition to a lucrative hosting gig on MSNBC, Sharpton raked in cash helming his influential non-profit The National Action Network. In 2018, he pocketed more than a million dollars from the charity.
Since the debt is owed by the campaign committee, and not Sharpton directly, the Rev is not on the hook for the cash. Rather his campaign treasurer, Andrew Rivera, is the one legally responsible for it.
Rivera did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Post.
“It does reflect poorly on the people at the helm. I have worked for candidates who I know have taken great pains to make sure staff and consultants are taken care of,” Jerri Ann Henry, a consultant who had worked around campaigns and PACs for 15 years, told The Post. “Frankly, almost a million dollars, that’s a lot of money. Today’s campaigns spend at that level all the time, but that is very significant coming all the way back in 2004.”
Sharpton told The Post he was good for the money.
“I have asked Andrew Rivera, the finance chair of my 2004 campaign, to set up a meeting with the Federal Election Commission so that I can resolve any campaign debts related to Sharpton 2004,” he said. “I am willing to work out a settlement for all claims with my own money to the degree that I’m allowed and will raise money directly … Even if I am not legally liable for it, I am certainly morally responsible.”
The 2004 campaign is far from the only Sharpton organization larded with debt. A spokesperson for the state Department of Taxation and Finance told The Post that one of Sharpton’s businesses, Rev-Als Communications Inc., was in the hole for more than $700,000.
Sharpton called the company “defunct” and “inoperable for years” adding that he was unaware of “any taxes owed that would be attributed to me.”
The arrears have not hurt Sharpton’s standing with fellow Democrats who still regularly seek his favor and make kiss-the-ring pilgrimages to dine with him at Sylvia’s.
“The last debate I know he was sitting in the same row as [DNC chairman] Tom Perez and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack,” one Democratic insider said.