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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, July 10, 2012

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July 10, 2012

Guests: Rebecca Wilkins; Benjy Sarlin; John Larson, Keith Ellison, Wes
Moore, Martin Luther King III

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m
Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s leading, the fight over fairness in the country. Today,
President Obama took his fight for fairness on the road promoting his plan
to extend tax cuts for middle class Americans and earning less than
$250,000 a year.


should make sure that the taxes on the 98 percent of Americans don`t go up
and then we should let the tax cuts expire for folks like me, for the top
two percent of Americans. And to give me another tax break or Warren
Buffett another tax break or to give Mitt Romney another tax break, that
would cost -- that would cost about a trillion dollars and we can`t afford


SHARPTON: He also called out Republicans important holding the tax
cuts for the middle class hostage to protect tax cuts for millionaires.


OBAMA: I want to hold taxes steady for 98 percent of Americans.
Republicans say they want to do the same thing. We disagree on the other
two percent. What do you usually do if you agree on 98 percent and
disagree on two percent? Why don`t you compromise to help the middle
class? Go ahead and do the 98 percent and we can keep arguing about the
two percent. Let`s agree when we can agree. Let`s not hold the vast
majority of Americans hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut
for the other two percent.


SHARPTON: The American people are with the president. A new poll
shows that 60 percent say it is very important to extend tax cuts just for
families earning less than $250,000, 40 percent want to extend those breaks
for everyone including millionaires who don`t need it.

Of course, Republicans and including Mitt Romney are desperate to keep
the tax cuts from their wealthy campaign contributors. They are trying to
make the case that the president extending the tax cuts for less wealthy
people is actual will you part of some imagined war President Obama is
waging against small businesses and job creators. But Republicans have
defined small business tows include companies owned by rich celebrities,
like Paris Hilton, Donald Trump, and Kim Kardashian. Democrats called them
out for that today when they unveiled their own bill to help small


SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: Congressional Republicans want
to lavish huge across the board tax breaks and billionaire hedge fund
managers and people like mega rich celebrities like Donald Trump. In fact,
that is rich so-called small business owners, like Kim Kardashian and Paris
Hilton, could qualify for these wasteful giveaway.


SHARPTON: In fact just today, the Senate began debate on a key item
from President Obama`s to-do list for congress. A bill giving tax breaks
to small businesses. It would create nearly a million jobs and add $87
billion to the economy. Thirteen Republicans voted against even debating
this bill today. And other GOP senators are getting ready to load it up
with amendments designed to kill it.

Folks, that`s what this election is all about. Who wants fairness and
who doesn`t.

Joining me now is Congressman John Larson, chairman of the house
democratic caucus and E.J. Dionne, columnist for "the Washington Post" and
an MSNBC contributor.

Congressman, let me start with you. Why won`t Republicans agree to
pass what they agree on which is extending cuts for the middle class?

REP. JOHN LARSON (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, Reverend Al, thank you for
having me on.

They remain as Roosevelt said frozen in the ice of their own
indifference. They are indifferent to the working people all across this
country who need this tax cut. We are debating right now on the floor of
the House of Representatives their repeal of the health care bill. They
will not bring forward this president`s proposal on jobs, ignoring the 14
million people out of work and yet, they are busy on the floor for the 31st
time this year in an effort to repeal health care instead of creating jobs
and then remaining obstinate in terms of, it is a president said,
compromising on making sure that the middle class gets the tax cuts that
they need.

SHARPTON: Yes. But Congressman Larson, let me push you a little on


SHARPTON: Because they claim that they are for extending tax cuts for
the middle class. Where did -- the disagreement is for those that are
disagreeing as I do, with extending it for those that are wealthier. So
why not since we agree on extending it for the middle class why not at
least do that as we debate about whether or not we extend for the wealthier
-- those that do --

LARSON: Because this Republican controlled Congress would rather see
Obama fail than the entire nation succeed. They are frozen in the ice of
their abstinence and indifference. They would rather see the president
fail than the nation succeed on several fronts, about certainly in the area
of tax cuts and in the area of health care, and certainly in the area of
job creation.

SHARPTON: Now, E.J., you have been covering tax cuts and politics
around taxes for a long time. Is this unusual? I mean, it seems to me to
be something that could backfire on the Republicans and they are going to
hold the tax cuts for everybody hostage to protect tax cuts for

that this turns out to be a kind of political twofer for president Clinton
because as that char showed and as virtually all of the polls have shown,
the idea of cutting taxes for people earning under $250,000, but not
cutting taxes on the very rich, that`s very popular, partly because most
people aren`t rich. And partly because people know that wealthy Americans
have gotten wealthier while the middle class has stagnated.

But he is making another point here which is that if the voters blame
inaction in Washington on the system or on Washington, that goes back and
hurts the president because he is the guy in charge. He is being very
clear here. I think the key quote today was, let`s agree when we can

Everybody says that they don`t want taxes to go up on the upper
middle, you know, $250,000 or more on that category Americans, 98 percent
of us. Why can`t Congress act? And to the extent the Republicans are
looking like they are engaged in a game that says we won`t give those tax
cuts unless we get the ones important the rich.

I think that gives the president an opening to do that old Harry
Truman do nothing Congress kind of campaign and it worked pretty well back
in 1948. I think he will try to tie my Romney to the Republicans in
Congress the way Truman tied Tom Dewey to the Republicans in Congress in
his day.

SHARPTON: Well, but is it not so that Congressman Larson, that in
many ways Mitt Romney`s already tied there. He has agreed with these
policies. He`s apparently campaigning on them. And I think that E.J. said
President Clinton -- but I think President Obama could get a twofer here.

LARSON: I think he is definitely going to get a twofer here because
fundamentally, as both you and E.J. have said, ultimately with the voters
and the American citizens, it is about fairness. This is intuitively
obvious to most Americans that this is fair. And even to those as Warren
Buffett has said, who have done well during these times, they understand
the responsibility that they -- responsibility that they have, especially
in lieu of the needs of our veterans and men and women who have truly been
the only ones that are really sacrificing during these times for us to make
sure we are giving them the kind of support that they need, along with
lifting people out of an economy and helping them get back to work.
Something that all of those fronts the Republicans remain obstinate in
their obstruction of seeing this president succeeds. They rather see him
fail than the nation succeeds.

SHARPTON: E.J., how far and how long can the Republicans go with
this? Can they push this past the election? They would rather see taxes
go up for the middle class? Just to try and hold the line against this
president and help their richer friends?

DIONNE: Well, I think their theory is they can go on forever on this
because they think they can just keep labeling the Democrats as tax
raisers. And that people won`t pay attention to the specifics of the
issue. The disadvantage they have is that we are in the middle of a
presidential campaign that a lot of Americans are paying lot of attention
to and will be paying more attention to it as the campaign goes on. And it
is hard to accuse President Obama, get it right this time, and Democrats in
Congress of, you know, wanting to raise taxes when he`s very specifically
calling for tax cuts.

And you know I made that Clinton mistake. It is exactly what Clinton
did running against Newt Gingrich and the Republican Congress and it worked
in 1996.


DIONNE: I think that there is a reasonable shot it will work again.

SHARPTON: No. In `94, Newt Gingrich and them, rallied and in `96,
President Clinton was successful.

Thank you, Congressman John Larson and E.J. Dionne. Thank you both
for your time tonight.

DIONNE: Great to be with you.

LARSON: Great to be with you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Ahead, you all remember the Bermuda triangle where ships
and planes vanished with no explanation. Well, Mitt has his own version.
Wait until you hear what he is saying today.

Plus, Karl Rove happened to give a speech right next to Romney`s big
retreat in Utah. And for some reason, Romney`s son is involved. Amazing!

And Martin Luther King once said voting is the foundation stone for
political action. And nearly five decades after the voting rights act, we
are still fighting over voter suppression.

I`m here in Atlanta on a voting engagement tour honored to have Martin
Luther King III join me.

You are watching "Politics Nation" live from Atlanta on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Folks, have you checked us out on facebook? The
conversation is going all day long.

Today, our fans were fired up over voter suppression laws.

Dorothy wrote this quote. "Are there any principled Republicans who
will oppose this? They cannot all be zealots or are they afraid on speak

And Renee shared some good news whose sister is in Philly. Tells her
people are all over the place helping with IDs, in churches, schools, and
playgrounds. They are getting it together.

We are all fighting back on this one. It is what I`m working on here
today in Atlanta. We want to hear from you and what you think, too. Head
over to facebook and search "Politics Nation." And like us to join the
conversation that keeps going long after the show airs.


SHARPTON: We are back on "Politics Nation" with a game of name that

Can you guess what it is? If you guessed steel drums, you are right,
the music of the islands, the music of places like Bermuda. What a
beautiful island. It is known for its breathtaking white sand beaches and
Bermuda shorts, lots of Bermuda shorts in a variety of colors.

Who hasn`t heard of the Bermuda triangle? Movies have been made about
the ships and planes that mysteriously vanished there over the years.
Turns out, there`s something else that`s mysteriously vanished. The
details surrounding a Bermuda a company listed under Romney`s name. We
don`t know what he is hiding. In fact, neither does he.


know where they are. That trustee that follows all U.S. tax laws and all
taxes are paid as appropriate. All have been reported to the government.
There`s nothing hidden there.


SHARPTON: Nothing hidden. Nothing hidden. Folks, think about this.
Isn`t it weird he doesn`t know about a company that he owns in bin Bermuda?
People, people, don`t most people know where their money? And it only gets
more confusing from there. An AP report that Bermuda Company he owns is
among several Romney holdings that has not been fully disclosed.

Mitt set it up in 1997 while working at Bain Capital. It was used
among other things in Bain`s billion dollar takeover of Domino Pizza.
Later, it was transferred into a blind trust owned by Romney`s wife one day
before he was sworn in as governor.

Sure doesn`t look like Romney doesn`t know anything about that could.
But the fact remains that he owns a Bermuda company. Did you ever think we
would have a presidential candidate who owns a Bermuda company? But, we
do. Only he doesn`t know anything about it. His sort of secrecy is weird.
It is exactly what vice president Biden was talking about today when he hit
Mr. Romney for not releasing his tax returns.


candidate for president in 1968, his father released 12 years of tax
returns because he said, and I quote," one year could be a fluke, perhaps
done for show," end of quote. That was his father. His son has released
only one year of his tax returns. He wants you to show your papers but he
won`t show us his. It is kind of fascinating.


SHARPTON: He won`t show us his papers. Well, maybe because he
doesn`t know where they are.


ROMNEY: I don`t manage them. Don`t even know where they are.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Rebecca Wilkins, senior counsel at
citizens for tax justice and Benjy Sarlin, political reporter for "Talking
points Memo, " who has been covering the story closely for TPM.

Thanks to both of you for joining me tonight.


SHARPTON: Rebecca, let me start with you. Please explain something
to me. Romney`s Bermuda Company is listed as a company but it doesn`t have
any employees. And Romney doesn`t know anything about it. Can you explain
that to me?

WILKINS: Well, I don`t think that it is possible that he doesn`t know
anything about it because it was set up before it was transferred to the
blind trust. It was set up back in the `90s and he was shown as the sole
owner and then it was transferred to the trust. And talk about the trustee
of the trust is a long time adviser and Romney`s personal attorney.

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. It was set up in the `90s -- 97 by Romney.


SHARPTON: So he knew about it in the `90s. It was transferred to a
blind trust. That is, controlled by his personal lawyer, yet he doesn`t
know anything about it now.

WILKINS: Yes. That doesn`t seem very plausible, does it?

SHARPTON: No. Benjy, let me go to you. When we look at the AP
"vanity fair" story, we find out that the company, Sankaty, was set up by
Romney in `97 and placed in a blind trust to Bradford Mall. Then we find
out that he doesn`t seem to be investing too blindly because "vanity fair"
points out the following. Quote, "it is certainly true that under malt the
trusts don`t appear to be as blind as they might be. For instance, in
2010, the Romney`s invested $10 million in the start-up of a fund co-
founded by their elder son, Tagg and Spencer Zwick, Romney`s one-time
campaign fund-raiser. So, seems like this blind trust can see something.

has been a lot of debate over how blind this trust is. It doesn`t actually
fit the federal guidelines for how a blind trust should work. For
starters, it is run by, as mentioned, one of Romney`s own close personal
aides and a friend. It is -- so -- it is not exactly that much distance
between him and this money. There`s some evidence he has some influence

But the biggest this is that, there`s just no way to clear this up
without releasing significantly more records. It is all very mysterious
right now. There`s a lot of smoke and Mitt Romney says there were no taxes
avoided, there is no illegal use of this at all. And you know, probably
that`s true. He has been a very careful guy his whole life. But there
just isn`t way to know as long as he doesn`t release any tax records and
release any further information on it.

SHARPTON: You know, but -- but, Rebecca, I think what`s not careful,
if you know you are running for president, you have been dreaming of this
for years, running for years, you own a company in Bermuda. And then you
won`t even answer questions are be transparent. I mean, there`s something
strange. The company is only worth $10,000. I mean the AP reports of
financial snapshot of Sankaty in Romney`s 2010 tax returns showed the
holding with almost no value at that time with $10,000 in both assets and

So why won`t be he would he be so scared about releasing information
if this if it is only worth $10,000?

WILKINS: Well, that`s the value that`s reported in the income tax
returns. But that doesn`t mean that millions or tens of millions of
dollars haven`t run through the corporation.

SHARPTON: Tens of millions?

WILKINS: It is possible. It is just that at the time that the return
was prepared at the date of the reporting date, it didn`t have anything in
it. But it doesn`t mean that it hasn`t been used to invest in other things
and -- and to --

SHARPTON: So why would he open it if it is not for tax purposes, run
a lot of money through it?

WILKINS: Well, why does anybody open entity in a tax haven? It is
because they want to avoid the rules and regulations that would apply to
them onshore. And the primary one of those is tax evasion.

And you know, what bothers me more than Romney having a Bermuda
corporation is the fact that when he was head of Bain Capital, Bain Capital
started forming all of its private equity funds in the Cayman Islands. And
he made that decision on behalf of Bain Capital.

So even if he and his partners at Bain aren`t using those entities to
evade tax, they make it really easy for their investors to evade tax. That
is facilitating tax evasion. I find it shocking that he thinks that`s OK.

SHARPTON: So the reason that you go to the Cayman Islands in Bermuda
and the reason that some of the clients if not Bain itself is actually to
deal with tax havens and avoid taxes here in the United States where you
are running for president.

WILKINS: Right. Here in the United States or around the world. You
know, the funds probably have investors from all over the world from the
United Kingdom or France or the United States. And that Cayman Islands
entity doesn`t go through the filing requirements anywhere. So, it doesn`t
have to tell any tax authority anywhere in the world who its investors are
or how much income they got from that investment. If you want to cheat on
your taxes, it makes it really easy.

SHARPTON: Now Benjy, let`s deal with the policy for this. In the
debate this year, the real reason might have slipped when Romney was in the
debate. Listen to this.


people of South Carolina in this election see last year`s return?


ROMNEY: Because I want to make sure that I beat President Obama. And
every time we release things drip by drip, the Democrats go out with
another array of attacks.


SHARPTON: So, the Democrats got another array of attacks so that`s
why you will not be transparent why you ask people for vote for you to be
president of the United States?

SARLIN: Well, he is right about one thing. The Democrats are coming
out with plenty of attacks. Well, a lot of the attacks are saying well
look, why don`t just release these records already then?

And if you remember from that debate, that didn`t work out very well
for Mitt Romney. He got booed and was forced to immediately capitulate and
release at least a couple of years where only one full year of his taxes
which is how we first discovered this Bermuda company was still an asset in
the first place. It was unknown for about a decade he even still owned
this thing.

So, it is difficult to see how things aren`t heading the same way
right now. Democrats really succeed in highlighting a lot of the questions
and issues that I think a lot independent analysts confirm are legitimate
and serious and probably do merit quite a bit more documentation for Mitt

SHARPTON: Now Rebecca, there is clearly the investments and business
done by Bain under Willard Mitt Romney in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.
What is the Cayman Islands sandwich?

WILKINS: Well, it is very sophisticated tax planning technique that
involves avoiding withholding taxes around the world and avoiding reporting
requirements around the world by using Cayman Islands entities in between
all of the investments that you are doing.

SHARPTON: Rebecca Wilkins and Benjy Sarlin, thanks for your time this

SARLIN: Thanks for having me.

WILKINS: You bet.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Speaker Boehner is back in Washington working hard
on, of course, I`m kidding. He is trying to repeal the health care law
again. Congressman Keith Ellison joins us.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Today, the White House extended federal health insurance to
firefighters on the frontlines. They`re temporary employees but now they
will have health insurance. But tomorrow yet again, Republicans will try
to repeal the Obama health care law. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Tomorrow remark the 31st time that Republicans have tried
to repeal or defund President Obama`s health care law. Just two years ago,
the Tea Party was all about bringing down the President`s greatest
achievement. But a funny thing has happened. Americans are starting to
warm up to the health care law. It is still not popular but this chart by
Steve Benen from Maddow blog shows support for the health care law went up
by eight points since the Supreme Court ruling and opposition went down by
six points.

The game has changed. But Republicans don`t know it. They thought
they could come back from their holiday break and revive this bogeyman with
hours of hearings and debate on the House floor. One republican lawmaker
even compared the health care ruling of the courts to the court`s infamous
Dred Scott decision.


REP. TOM MCCLINTOCK (R), CALIFORNIA: I believe this decision will go
down in history as one of the most deplorable ever rendered, taking a place
of infamy next to Dred Scott.


SHARPTON: And just last week, the same Maine governor who once said,
quote, "As your governor, you are going to be seeing a lot of me on the
front page saying Governor LePage tells Obama to go to hell." Said the IRS
would turn into the new Gestapo under the health care law. And he still
won`t apologize for that ugly talk. On the state level, there`s extremism
and it knows no bounds. Texas Governor Rick Perry announced he wouldn`t
implement the law and said this about Medicaid.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: The bottom line here is that Medicaid is
a failed program. To expand this program is not unlike adding a thousand
people to the titanic.


SHARPTON: The titanic? Really? The President didn`t see it that way
today in Iowa. Neither did the fired up crowd.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I`m running because I believe
that nobody in America should go broke just because they get sick.


Our health care law was the right thing to do. It was the right thing
to do.



SHARPTON: Well, Republicans, you really think you can repeal a health
care law that`s working? Good luck with that.

Joining me now is Congressman Keith Ellison, democrat from Minnesota.
And co-chairman of the Progressive Caucus. And Wes Moore, retired captain
in the U.S. army and best-selling author of "The Other Wes Moore." Thank
you, both, for being here.



SHARPTON: Congressman Ellison, let me start with you. I mean, did I
miss something? What happened to the republican trying to get Americans
back to work?

ELLISON: You know, we are all still looking for that plan to get
Americans back to work. I can remember when Speaker Boehner was taunting
the President saying where are the jobs? Where are the jobs? Well, he`s
been the one obstructing the jobs. They want to know why it is we don`t
have better job numbers. Why don`t they pass a jobs bill?

Let`s start with the American jobs act outlined by President Obama?
They won`t even let it on the floor. They wouldn`t extend a six-year
transportation bill. I mean, they have been obstructing every step of the
way. No one will ever forget how they failed to -- they allowed the FAA
bill expire, putting people out of work. It has been a disaster.

SHARPTON: Yes. But Congressman, they are also the party that is
concerned about the deficit and yet, The Hill report on the impact of the
health care law says that when the CBO scored House Republicans first bill
to repeal the affordable care act, it estimated -- this is the CBO, it
estimated that repeal would probably increase the federal deficit by
roughly $145 billion over ten years.

How did they justify this as being the ones that want to deal with the
deficit but if they repealed this health care law, the first repeal they
went through, it would actually increase the deficit by this huge amount of

ELLISON: These deficit hawks turn into deficit chickens just as soon
as they are confront about the facts of what they want to do. Everything
falls on the face of their ideology. I don`t believe that they are really
concerned about the deficit. I think what they want to do is to create cut
-- cut taxes, create deficit and then justify all of it by only spending

Because that`s all they ever want to do but not to military and not to
things which people want like tax cuts for the wealthy. Just programmatic
cuts for middle class and working people. So really, you know, if you add
up their whole program, it is a program of the rich people don`t have
enough money and the poor people have too much.

SHARPTON: Now, Wes Moore, the politics of this is changing. It is
still -- not popular with everyone. But it`s clearly not as unpopular as
it was about that 2010.

MOORE: And the reason the politics is changing is because people have
a better understanding of the policy. What happened after -- one of the
interesting changes that happened after the Supreme Court ruling was people
actually got to -- chance to understand what the bill actually
incorporated. And what was actually inside of the bill. So when people
got a chance to understand that this bill made sure that if you had pre-
existing conditions, that you could not have an insurance company that
could tell you that they wouldn`t cover you.

When people understood that this bill said, if you are 26 years of age
or younger, particularly when youth unemployment in this country is at 17-
plus percent. And that if you are under the age of 26, that you can still
be on your parents` coverage. When people understood the details of this
bill, that`s when you started watching the numbers change because up until
that point people didn`t have a complete understanding of just how
important and powerful this bill could be for the average American family.

SHARPTON: Well, I also think that when we started seeing human faces
and understanding that what this bill meant to people, we had it on the
program Stephanie Miller whose sister died of cancer and she was praising
the health care law on -- just last week on this show. Watch this.


bill like President Obama`s had been in effect five or ten years ago, my
sister could have went to the doctors, she could have got preventative
health care. They could have detected the colon cancer early. It is one
of the most curable cancers there is. She could still be here with her


SHARPTON: So Wes, when you have people that are talking about their
personal experience, life and death of their loved ones, it sort of changes
how people perceive this and in just a cold removed way.

MOORE: That`s right. I mean, statistics add context. But stories
promote action. And that`s the difference. I think when we can talk about
the health care law and health care and the potential of health care appeal
and to do it in such a cold and terse way without understanding the lives
that potentially are going to be affected by this.

You know, people want to talk about jobs. Here`s -- here is a plug
for a jobs program. When you can have particularly with youth
unemployment, when you can have an opportunity for young people who can
stay on their parents` insurance instead of having to go to potential
employers for insurance, this is a jobs plan. This is something that --
this doesn`t hurt the American economy.

What it does, it helps them promote small businesses to make hire that
they potentially may not have made. We have to be able to personalizes and
show people these are not just numbers, these are not just 20 million-plus
American numbers we are talking about. These are stories. These are our
neighbors, these are our friends. And that`s why this bill matters.

SHARPTON: Now, Congressman, the fact is that an anonymous GOP
strategist told "The New York Times" that health care is a winning issue
for Democrats. He says, "Anytime Republicans are debating taxes and the
economy, we are winning, anytime we are debating health care, they are
winning." And one of the reasons that that seems to be the case is if you
look at polling on what`s covered in the bill, 85 percent of people polled
support covering those with pre-existing conditions.

Seventy seven percent support reduced drug costs for Medicare
recipients. Sixty eight percent support adults under 26 staying on
parents` plan. This is a loser for them. Why are they going through these
motions again tomorrow for the 31st time?

ELLISON: I think is they are sore losers. I think that they are
trying to just hang on to a failed thing that they tried to do which is to
defeat health care. They tried to call it Obamacare and now what people
rejoicingly call it Obamacare. But you know, Frank Luntz predicted this a
long time ago. You know, Luntz was there, you know, they`re strategists,
they are wordsmiths. He said, you know, if the Democrats pass health care,
we can lose the house for decades. He was right.

He said this a few years ago. What he didn`t know is that the
republican lie machine would be so prolific, you know, with debt panels,
all this other mess they threw out there, now that the stories and stats
are coming through, I think that -- both and you Mr. Moore are right.
Americans are going to embrace this bill.

SHARPTON: Congressman Keith Ellison, Wes Moore, thank you both for
your time tonight.

MOORE: Thank you, Reverend.

ELLISON: Thank you, sir.

SHARPTON: It has been 47 years since the voting rights act. Now we
are fighting not just against new voter ID laws but also against the right
wing challenges to the voting rights act itself. How we got here and how
we must go forward.

Martin Luther King III, we are honored to have him with us here
tonight. That`s coming up.


SHARPTON: The law says, Mitt Romney and his campaign may not
coordinate with Super PAC supporting his campaign but he somehow keeps
bumping into people running the Super PACs. The Huffington Post reports
Karl Rove gave a speech last month. Right next door to a Utah retreat for
Romney donors. Rove`s speech was sponsored by a private equity firm funded
by Romney`s son, Tagg.

Just this weekend, protesters held signs outside of a Romney fund-
raiser hosted you by billionaire donor David Koch. Romney joked, "I
understand there is a plane out there saying Mitt Romney has a Koch
problem. I don`t look at it as a problem. I look at it as an asset."

Folks, Super PAC rules are flawed to begin with. But Romney and his
buddies are doing whatever they can to blur the lines. This is the time
where I normally say got you. But they`re not even trying to hide what
they are doing. Oh, what the heck. We got you anyway.


SHARPTON: We are back on POLITICS NATION. Live from Atlanta. Nearly
five decades after Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for the voting rights
act, we are still fighting voter suppression. Our task today is urgent.
As the right wing continues its swings state by state. Swaying against the
voting rights act. Seventeen states now have some former voter ID law.
Including right here in Georgia.

The Brennan Center reports, these laws could disenfranchise more than
five million people. Georgia was one of the first states to enact the
voter ID laws back in 2005. Republicans say, they aren`t meant to stop
anyone from voting but an Associated Press study out this week shows voter
ID laws in Georgia and Indiana blocked 1,200 voters in 2008.

Today, I was honored to welcome Martin Luther King III to our events.
He`s continuing his father`s legacy as a civil rights leader and human
rights activist. Martin, thank you for being here.

honored to have the opportunity.

SHARPTON: Now, you made a very passionate speech today at the
National Action Network session at Salem Church Reverend Jasper Williams
pastor about your father, what he fought for and now we are here trying to
make sure people can vote and you thought that you would never see a day
like this.

KING: Well, I certainly -- 47 years after the voting rights act has
been passed. I never would have thought that there would be states in our
nation that are trying to keep people from voting or suppress the vote. I
don`t think the issue is people having an ID. That`s not the issue. The
issue is selective IDs that everyone does not have access to.

We don`t have the luxury of not allowing people to vote in this nation
we call a democracy. My father, Viola Liuzzo and many gave their lives so
we could have the precious right. We need to be voting in every election
and it is about everybody voting. Not any one party or one ethnic group.
It is about all Americans.

SHARPTON: The Attorney General said that this is the new poll tax.
So, clearly when you have the Attorney General and others saying that this
is clearly something that disproportionately affect minorities, let me show
you what the Attorney General said today.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Many of those without IDs would
have to travel great distances to get there. And some would struggle to
pay for the documents they might need to obtain them. We call those poll
taxes. We will be vigilant and we will be strong. But let me be clear.
Let me be very clear. We will not allow political pretext to
disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious right.



SHARPTON: So in effect, because it is causing seniors who have fixed
incomes money, it is a poll tax, one of the reasons we are out here and you
have joined us on these tours is to try to help facilitate that but why do
we need new ID. When there`s no evidence there is widespread fraud? We
already have ID. ID that we`ve used for Reagan, Nixon, Clinton, what`s
wrong with that ID now?

KING: Well, that`s a very good question, Rev. And I don`t know that
anyone has the answer. You would hate to think that any of our elected
officials would want to keep people from voting. But it appears that there
is an effort, front, to keep people from voting. And so, I think we just
had to be vigilant as we always have. There`s nothing more powerful in all
the world than an idea whose time has come. Victor Hugo used to say the
time has come for us to mobilize, organize, registration with education
will create ultimately voter participation.

SHARPTON: One of the reasons that we are moving in July is because if
people have to get ID, and may take weeks to get the ID back and then they
have to register before 30 days. So, you can`t do this in October. But
what do you say as the son of Dr. King and Mrs. Coretta Scott King to
people that are frustrated, that it is so complex, I`m tired of -- going
through all of these different complications to vote.

KING: Well, while I say this is a -- quirk, you know, I have to think
about what my dad and his team went through. And the struggles that they
and others, even before them, went through to accomplish what they
accomplished. This is a minor glitch. It is a glitch in the road. It is
a glitch in the road. But this is minor compared to what they had to do.
All we have to do is to stand up and be counted. And make it be known that
we want to participate in this process and actually democratically we have
-- we have the right to participate.

SHARPTON: You know, I sort of -- workshop when people were being
instructed on what to do and how to get people the ID. And I thought about
what you just said. CT Bevan (ph) was there, was punched by sheriffs. I
thought of Reverend Joe Larry (ph) and others that have made such a
sacrifice. How do we have the nerve to complain today. Viola Liuzzo lost
her life, her daughter marched with us just in March of this year. And so,
I think that when we look at how we got here, we would be cheapening the
memories of those that gave their lives to just let it go like this.

KING: Oh, we cannot. We have no choice in this matter. I think what
we have to do is to also mobilize the entertainment community. Those who
have voices, the athletic community. The community just in general. And I
think people really are waiting. They`re waiting for one voice but there
is not going to be one voice. It is going to be a collective voice that
makes the difference so that those who we elect will protect and preserve
the rights of all the people.

SHARPTON: Well, thank God, we still have the voice of the King family
and you out there. And clearly this is not about who people vote for.
Whoever they`re going to vote for. We want to protect people`s right to

Martin Luther King III, thank you for your time tonight.

KING: Thank you.

SHARPTON: We will be right back.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, the cost of secrecy. I want to talk about
the secrecy surrounding Mitt Romney`s campaign. There are five months left
in this race. And we will definitely learn more about Mitt Romney before
it is over. But as we have reported, there`s much don`t know about him.
Lack of hard policy solutions. Something surrogates say, is a good thing.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think right now, Romney is smart to wait before
he starts laying out proposal after proposal. But he ultimately will.


SHARPTON: That`s a -- big enough problem. The heart of this issue is
a secrecy about how he accumulated his wealth and what he`s done with it
since. Now, one of Mr. Romney`s spokespersons say questions about his
wealth are in unfounded character assault. Calling them unseemly and
disgusting. But I don`t see a dead weight. The only way to judge how
someone would lead the country is to look at their past. The President
says, it is important to have these questions answered.


OBAMA: What`s important if you are running for President is that the
American people know who you are, what you have done and that you are an
open book.


SHARPTON: An open book. That`s hardly what we are seeing. "New York
Times" columnist Paul Krugman says, quote, what a man does with his money
is a major clue to his character. So, that`s why there are questions.
That`s why the veil of secrecy is troublesome. Mitt Romney keeps saying,
he`s proud of being a successful businessman. He`s proud that he was able
to earn and do well. And that`s good.

So if you are proud of us, tell us how you did it. And tell us what
you did with it. You can`t be proud of something that you won`t tell us
what it is that you are proud of. Spread the pride. Or we would only
assume that you have something to hide. And hiding is not an attribute and
it certainly not part of being proud.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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