Posted by Media Outrage on December 13th, 2007
Teams of federal agents swooped down on up to 10 close associates of the Rev. Al Sharpton Wednesday, demanding the flamboyant clergyman’s financial records since 2001.
Sharpton’s former chief of staff said he was roused at his Harlem home about 6:30 a.m. by two FBI agents who handed him a subpoena to bring the records to a federal grand jury the day after Christmas.
Several employees of Sharpton’s National Action Network also got wakeup subpoenas to testify before the Brooklyn panel, the rabble-rousing reverend’s lawyer said.
The FBI and IRS are investigating whether Sharpton improperly misstated the amount of money he raised during his 2004 White House run to illegally obtain federal matching funds, a source familiar with the probe said.
Sharpton, although forced to return $100,000 in matching taxpayer funds after an investigation two years ago, denied any wrongdoing at the time.
The feds are also looking into allegations of tax fraud, including whether Sharpton commingled funds from his nonprofit National Action Network with several of his for-profit ventures, the source said.
Lawyer Michael Hardy shrugged off the probe, which sought a vast array of business, political and personal records, as a federal fishing expedition.
“I can’t think of a time when the Rev. Sharpton wasn’t under investigation,” he said.
“What I would tell you is that what the National Action Network has done, and will continue to do, is cooperate and comply,” said Charlie King, a spokesman for the network.