Al Sharpton’s rise to power has always been attributed to his ability to be the spokesperson and mascot for victims of racial injustice. Wherever disruptive activity dwells, Sharpton marches to the rescue. It has become his business and career of choice, and he plays the role quite well. He expertly provides high-profile support and exposure to issues that demand immediate attention – but at what cost?

The New York Times recently conducted an investigation into the well-polished activist’s finances and unearthed what many had already suspected. Due to Sharpton’s finessed operation, he has managed to coordinate an impressive roster of responsibilities that require his presence both on the air and in the streets. He also oversees his non-profit National Action Network. These activities document a searing problem that is eroding his credibility.

The New York Times carefully reviewed the records and found that Sharpton has systematically evaded paying taxes, rent and the other functioning bills that most of us dutifully tackle. But it gets worse. The Times also confirmed that he owes more than $4.5 million in state and federal taxes, and this debt overflows into his non-profit which has already been deemed as an organization sinking in a fraudulent whirlpool. Sharpton recently claimed that he was working to settle his state and federal balances but in actuality he has racked up more debt with the state.

Meanwhile, it was discovered that the National Action Network has avoided paying federal payroll taxes on its employees – giving the non-profit the extra capital to keep it afloat all these years. It is also the reason for Sharpton’s ability to utilize first-class services for his mandated trips as well as his bloated salary. Expectedly, the tax issue associated with National Action Network is a serious offense that can be categorized as “abusive” or “potentially criminal” especially if the act of withholding taxes is proven to be an act of will.

The New York Times piece delved even deeper into Sharpton’s connection with Rachel Noerdlinger, his loyal aide for many years, who was forced to take a leave of absence on Monday from her post as the top adviser to Chirlane McCray, wife of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, following her teenage son’s arrest for trespassing. But even before her son’s mayhem, it was revealed that while undergoing a detailed background test she had purposely omitted the fact that her live-in boyfriend had a vast criminal past.

This recent development is another indication of Sharpton’s tendency to be entangled in situations that are questionably murky at best. His legacy will be contingent on whether or not he is able to clear out all the black marks on his rap sheet. If history has taught us anything, it’s that despite his status as a prominent political figure that has access to the corridors of power – he will not be shielded from the consequences and penalties that accompany his sinister disposition. He will be forced to atone for his wrongdoing.


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