NASCAR Asked to End Sharpton Support in Wake of Ferguson Police Shootings

I have sent this letter to Brian France, Chief Executive Office of NASCAR:

We ask that NASCAR end its financial support of Al Sharpton and his organization, the National Action Network (NAN). 

According to programs for the NAN national convention, NASCAR has served as a sponsor of the event in recent years, which is Sharpton’s primary annual fundraising event.

The cold-blooded murder of two New York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, followed weeks of Sharpton’s vilification of law enforcement personnel. Now two police officers have been gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri.

This is not the first time that violence and loss of life have followed Sharpton’s agitation, such as in the 1991 Crown Heights riots and the 1995 Freddy’s Fashion Mart incident. Sharpton’s involvement in these and other abhorrent episodes, such as the Tawana Brawley hoax, are a matter of record.

I have enclosed a new book titled Sharpton: A Demagogue’s Rise by Dr. Carl Horowitz of our staff. It contains specific details of Sharpton’s history of inciting violence, anti-Semitism, and lawlessness.

If another reason is needed for NASCAR to cut off Sharpton, it is the financial irregularities that have characterized Sharpton’s nonprofit groups, for-profit companies, and political campaigns. Indeed, Sharpton was fined $285,000 by the Federal Election Commission as a result of Complaints filed by the National Legal and Policy Center.

According to the New York Times and other sources, NAN has failed to pay millions of dollars in taxes. NASCAR may purport that its support of NAN is used to promote “civil rights,” but Sharpton himself has admitted that current NAN revenues are being used to pay years-old tax obligations.

NASCAR would not tolerate such a lack of financial accountability from any other grant recipient, vendor, business partner or sponsor.

Other corporations support NAN, and we are making the same request of them, but police officers, and other law enforcement personnel, play a special role in NASCAR operations. Without the security and crowd control they provide to NASCAR, racing would not be possible. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of law enforcement personnel are NASCAR fans.

Mr. France, police lives matter. You can demonstrate your support for law enforcement by ending your support for Sharpton without delay. END LETTER

NLPC previously has engaged NASCAR on its support for “civil rights” activists, an engagement characterized by bad faith on NASCAR’s part.

In 2003, NLPC organized and led a widely publicized protest of NASCAR’s support for Jesse Jackson's organizations. NLPC mobilized thousands of NASCAR fans and other citizens. The campaign enjoyed almost daily media coverage until July 29, 2003 when USA Today reported that NASCAR had cut off Jackson.

This story apparently was a ruse because the support continued. NASCAR sponsored a luncheon at the 2004 Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund Annual Conference in Chicago on July 29, 2004.

When I called NASCAR on it, a spokesman denied that it had sponsored the luncheon. I then released photographs that I took at the event. Among the photos is a shot of a large screen that reads: SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR SPORTS LUNCHEON SPONSOR: NASCAR.

Our campaign did have one positive result. In apparent response, NASCAR launched a minority-outreach program called “Drive for Diversity,” which did not involve Jesse Jackson. At the time I said, “I welcome what NASCAR is doing. I am gratified NASCAR has taken our advice.” In interview after interview in 2003, I criticized NASCAR for “paying off” Jackson, instead of supporting real minority recruitment and training.


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