The Rev. Al Sharpton’s latest presidential campaign report is filled with oversights and potential violations that renew questions about his financial probity, according to a published report.
The September financial filings show Sharpton did not report the free use of cars from a dealer in South Carolina, an expense the Federal Election Commission said should have been declared, The New York Times said in a story for Saturday editions.
The campaign report also turns up extravagant use of campaign funds for travel expenses, pricey hotels and Sharpton’s own personal filmmaker, the newspaper said.
Though Sharpton’s campaign had collected just $284,000 by September, one campaign stay for him and two other people in the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas cost $3,264.11 for one night, his filings showed.
Sharpton told the Times that he stayed there because that was where other people attending Black Expo were staying.
The Times said Sharpton’s campaign spent about $4,000 in June and July in airfare for filmmaker Eddie Harris, who is working under a contract with the National Action Network.
'Things slip through the cracks'
Sharpton said he and his organization were activists, not financial experts. “Your staff sometimes lets things slip through the cracks,” he told the Times.
Sharpton said his campaign would now pay only $200 a night per room for any hotel stay, and that he would pay the difference for more expensive accommodations if allowed.
Sharpton has long been dogged by allegations of financial impropriety. He was acquitted in 1990 of charges he stole from a civil rights organization and pleaded guilty in 1993 to not filing a state income tax return in 1986.
A report filed in July showed that the Internal Revenue Service has begun an audit of his finances. In August, a travel agency filed a lawsuit claiming he owed nearly $200,000 in travel bills.
Last week, Sharpton’s campaign filed for $100,000 in federal matching funds, plus additional funds of between $30,000 and $75,000.