Tuesday, April 12, 2005

He--Rev. AL-- did what???????

Sharpton Denies Pocketing Campaign Funds

New Charges Grow Out of Philadelphia Corruption Probe
Apr 12, 2005 10:58 am

US/Eastern NEW YORK (AP) The Rev. Al Sharpton is disputing allegations that he failed to report campaign donations for his failed 2004 presidential bid from two businessmen who were accused in an unrelated corruption scandal in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer, citing unidentified sources, reported Monday that the FBI in New York had begun a separate investigation into Sharpton's fund-raising as a spinoff of the Philadelphia probe.

"Nobody has come to me to ask about this report of funds and this is almost two years later,'' Sharpton told The Associated Press on Tuesday.The FBI declined to comment.In the Philadelphia corruption investigation, local Democratic fund-raiser Ronald A. White and fast-food mogul La-Van Hawkins reportedly were wiretapped having a conversation about Sharpton failing to report a large amount of campaign contributions.At the time, White and Hawkins were suspected of conspiring to defraud New York City's pension fund -- an assertion which prosecutors later admitted was wrong.The New York Post reported Tuesday that the FBI had videotaped Sharpton "pocketing campaign donations'' from the two men and "then asking for more.'' Sharpton told the AP that White and Hawkins did give him campaign checks."Everything given was reported,'' Sharpton said. "The idea of getting matching funds is to show that you are raising money. It would have been a contradiction not to report the money.'' He also reiterated that no wrongdoing was committed in his business dealings with Hawkins and White."They asked me to introduce them to several business officials,'' but he did not help to broker any deals, Sharpton said in a telephone interview. "Networking is what leaders do; there is no crime to do that. The FBI found there is no wrongdoing in that.''Hawkins is currently on trial in Philadelphia on charges of helping White to funnel a $10,000 payment to Philadelphia's ex-treasurer Corey Kemp in an attempt to influence government contracts. White, who also was indicted, died last November.

(© 2005 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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