The annual conference of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) runs today through Saturday in New York City. According to the official program, the “Republican National Convention” is among the 45 sponsors of the event that serves as Sharpton’s biggest fundraising event of the year. Perhaps the program was supposed to read “Republican National Committee.” According to NAN, sponsorship requires a contribution of $5,000 to $100,000.
If the RNC is now a donor to Sharpton’s group, it is another blow to RNC donors, already reeling from the lesbian bondage club episode. It would also mean that RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s staff has been less than forthcoming with me about the RNC’s actual involvement. Steele is speaking at the event this afternoon, an appearance we asked him to cancel. Yesterday, RNC Coalitions Director Angela Sailor insisted to me that Steele’s purpose in participating was to reach the 500-1,000 attendees with the GOP message.
Today, MSNBC’s Mara Schiavocampo, reporting live from the event, said that the RNC told her the same thing in response to her questions about our March 5 request that Steele cancel his speech. Schiavocampo noted the nature of our objections to which the RNC has not responded, namely that Sharpton should not be treated as a “legitimate public figure” and that he has “encouraged anti-Semitism and violence.”
NLPC’s criticisms of Sharpton are carefully documented in our Special Report by Dr. Carl Horowitz titled Mainstreaming Demagoguery: Al Sharpton’s Rise to Respectability, published last year. We provided Steele with a copy on March 5.
While Steele is giving him credibility, Sharpton is busy belittling Republican African-Americans. On Monday, Sharpton claimed on his radio show that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is a member of “the white right voting bloc.” His guest went on to attack Thomas’ wife for being a Tea Partier.
Here’s the transcript:
DR BOYCE WATKINS (GUEST, AL SHARPTON SHOW): Another thought, going even deeper I think in terms of race in my opinion there is not a black man on the Supreme Court. You know hey I am going to get a lot of flak for saying that. Ha ha ha ha. We need a black person on the Supreme Court, why not a black woman?
SHARPTON: A lot of us would like to see blacks [nominated for the US Supreme Court opening], but a lot of us also are reminded that we got a black from George Bush Sr named Clarence Thomas and a lot of us would rather not, I’d rather have someone else who would vote, in my opinion who would vote in line with upholding human rights and civil rights and woman’s rights and prisoner rights then to have someone like Mr Thomas, Justice Thomas, who I think has consistently voted against all of that and has been one of the most inflexible members of the white right voting block in terms of not only the court, but in terms of his own public expressions.
WATKINS: But it is absolutely true. I mean when you talk about Clarence Thomas, you know he’s such an atrocious appointment for the black community that even his wife is a very vocal Tea Party member you know which is to some extent it undermines his integrity as a judge to have a spouse who is so politically active.
I have attempted to reach Sailor and the RNC press office by phone regarding the RNC’s apparent sponsorship of Sharpton’s conference. I will update this posting when appropriate.
Update 4/15/10 10:30am: No return phone calls. If the RNC did not contribute to Sharpton’s group, I would think they would be anxious to deny it.