By ISABEL VINCENT and SUSAN EDELMAN
Last Updated: 4:07 AM, June 15, 2008
Anheuser-Busch gave him six figures, Colgate-Palmolive shelled out $50,000 and Macy’s and Pfizer have contributed thousands to the Rev. Al Sharpton’s charity.
Almost 50 companies – including PepsiCo, General Motors, Wal-Mart, FedEx, Continental Airlines, Johnson & Johnson and Chase – and some labor unions sponsored Sharpton’s National Action Network annual conference in April.
Terrified of negative publicity, fearful of a consumer boycott or eager to make nice with the civil-rights activist, CEOs write checks, critics say, to NAN and Sharpton – who brandishes the buying power of African-American consumers. In some cases, they hire him as a consultant.
The cash flows even as the US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn has been conducting a grand-jury investigation of NAN’s finances.
A General Motors spokesman told The Post that NAN had repeatedly – and unsuccessfully – asked for contributions for six years, beginning in August 2000.
Then, in December 2006, Sharpton threatened to call a boycott of the carmaker over the closing of an African-American-owned GM dealership in The Bronx, and he picketed outside GM headquarters on Fifth Avenue.
Last year, General Motors gave NAN a $5,000 donation. It gave $5,000 more this year, a spokesman said, calling NAN a “worthy” organization.
In November 2003, Sharpton picketed DaimlerChrysler’s Chicago car show and threatened a boycott over alleged racial bias in car loans.
“This is institutional racism,” he bellowed.
In May 2004, Chrysler began supporting NAN’s conferences, which include panels on corporate responsibility and civil rights and a black-tie awards dinner to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Last year, Sharpton gave Chrysler an award for corporate excellence.
In 2003, Sharpton targeted American Honda for not hiring enough African-Americans in management.
“We support those that support us,” wrote Sharpton and the Rev. Horace Sheffield III, president of NAN’s Michigan chapter, in a letter to American Honda. “We cannot be silent while African-Americans spend hard-earned dollars with a company that does not hire, promote or do business with us in a statistically significant manner.”
Two months after American Honda execs met with Sharpton, the carmaker began to sponsor NAN’s events – and continues to pay “a modest amount” each year, a spokesman said.
“I think this is quite clearly a shakedown operation,” said Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center in Virginia, a conservative corporate watchdog. “He’s good at harassing people and making noise. CEOs give him his way because it is a lot easier than confronting him.”
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By Michelle Malkin
Tom Tancredo reports on corruption at the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement — and the continued plight of agent Cory Voorhis (via WND):
The federal government’s continued persecution of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, agent Cory Voorhis should alarm all Americans. Voorhis has been targeted for removal from his job because he dared to blow the whistle on politicians who were scheming with ICE bureaucrats to help criminal aliens avoid deportation – hundreds of them.
Voorhis went public in September 2006 with facts about the plea-bargaining practices of former Denver District attorney Bill Ritter, who happened to also be a candidate for governor of Colorado. During Ritter’s tenure as district attorney, 241 illegal aliens were given sweetheart deals for the explicit purpose of helping them minimize the risk of deportation. Some of them went on to commit other, more serious crimes, and when one of those cases was made public with Voorhis’ help, he was targeted for criminal investigation at the behest of the Ritter for Governor campaign.
Voorhis deserved a medal for his actions, but instead he was charged with violations of federal criminal law and then removed from his job after a federal court jury acquitted him of all charges after only two hours of deliberation. ICE managers were so embarrassed by this reversal, they launched a two-year effort to have him fired despite that acquittal. It has now been revealed that agency managers gave false testimony against Voorhis at his trial, yet no one at the top levels of the Department of Homeland Security had the courage to put a stop to the vendetta.
Voorhis has incurred more than $500,000 in legal bills and there is still no end in sight. His petition for reinstatement is now under review by an administrative judge attached to the Merit Systems Protection Board.
What is going on here? Why does ICE persist in trying to destroy a man whose only controversial action was to bring to the public’s attention information on certain criminal aliens already available to any enterprising reporter?
Aha! There’s the rub. If enterprising reporters started digging into the records of the plea-bargaining practices of prosecutors in sanctuary cities like Denver and San Francisco, who knows what mischief might ensue? In the agency’s view, Voorhis must be punished for throwing a huge public spotlight on these practices.
In retrospect, it is clear ICE overreacted. No reporter has bothered to look into the case histories of the other 240 plea-bargain cases uncovered in 2008. In fact, those 241 cases were only a sampling from a five-year period and were only the cases where “agricultural trespass” was used as the lesser offense to avoid deportation. Most likely there were more than 1,000 cases of sweetheart plea bargains for illegal aliens under Ritter’s tenure as Denver district attorney. How many exist in other cities? How many times have ICE legal staff – in Denver and elsewhere – assisted in the obstruction of our criminal-alien deportation laws?
The story has legs because President Obama has nominated one Stephanie Villafuerte as the next US attorney for Colorado. Villafuerte, as Tancredo points out, was the person on gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter’s campaign team who made the first call in September 2006 to the Denver D.A.’s office to inquire about the illegal alien mentioned in the newspapers stories; was the person also on a leave of absence from the Denver D.A.’s office to work in the Ritter campaign; was rewarded with a job as a principal deputy to Governor Ritter; and was the point person on immigration matters.
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