RNC Chair Steele Should Withdraw From Sharpton Event

SteeleNLPC today asked Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to cancel his scheduled participation in the annual conference of  Al Sharpton’s group, the National Action Network (NAN). According to the conference agenda, Steele is scheduled to speak at a “Special Plenary Session” on Wednesday, April 14.

In a hand-delivered letter today,  I write:

Just because Barack Obama and much of the media have made the mistake of treating Sharpton like a legitimate public figure, it doesn’t mean that you should.

Sharpton has encouraged anti-Semitism and violence. He remains unrepentant for accusing innocent persons of hate crimes in the Tawana Brawley episode and the Duke rape case. I have enclosed our Special Report by Dr. Carl Horowitz titled Mainstreaming Demagoguery: Al Sharpton’s Rise to Respectability, published last year.

Sharpton has a trail of unpaid bills and taxes. He has engaged in massive violations of election law. As a result of Complaints filed by NLPC with the Federal Election Commission, Sharpton was fined $285,000, had to repay $100,000 in taxpayer matching funds for his 2004 presidential campaign, and was denied another $79,000 for which he had previously qualified. How can you attack political corruption, and at the same time associate with Sharpton?

You also undercut our efforts to monitor and end corporate support for NAN. NLPC is currently sponsoring a shareholder proposal with Colgate-Palmolive asking the company to disclose its contributions to NAN. Last year, Colgate-Palmolive identified itself as NAN’s “Corporation of the Year.” But when consumers contacted the company to protest in the wake of Sharpton’s attacks on Rush Limbaugh, they were told that the company does not support Sharpton.

As the first African-American Chairman of the Republican National Committee, you have a unique chance to offer a vision of race relations based on individual rights and equal opportunity. Showing up at this race hustler’s conference does not further this vision. You should not go.


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