MSNBC host, self-proclaimed civil rights activist, professional race-baiter and shakedown artist Al Sharpton apparently owes $4.5 million to the IRS in unpaid taxes. On top of this long list of titles, Sharpton also serves as an unpaid advisor to the White House and President Obama on civil rights issues, race and politics. In fact, just three days after the 2014 midterm elections Sharpton was invited to the White House to offer advice about how to work with the GOP in the new Congress. In August, President Obama spoke for Sharpton's National Action Network. The video of Obama's speech is available on the official White House YouTube page and is watermarked with the WhiteHouse.gov logo.
"I want to say thank you to your leader, Rev. Al Sharpton, give him a big round of applause. I appreciate being an Action President."
Regardless of Sharpton's indisputably long history, partnership and many White House visits to meet with President Obama, recent news of Sharpton's massive tax bill have Obama administration officials playing dumb.
"There was a rather long story in the New York Times last week about Al Sharpton having allegedly having back taxes up to $4.5 million between personally and his for-profit entity. He has said that he's paid a bunch of it, there's some dispute about how much has been paid or not. He's here frequently at the White House as an advisor to the President, the President spoke to his organization a few months ago. Is the White House concerned he hasn't paid his taxes," Fox News' Ed Henry asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest Monday.
"Ed I have to be honest with you I haven't read those stories. I can tell you the question you are asking though does illustrate the kind of important and justified restrictions that there are on political interference with any sort of tax investigations or tax enforcement. I am confident that this administration is allowing whatever enforcement procedures are underway to be carried out," Earnest said.
"But an adviser to the president should pay his or her taxes?" Henry asked further.
"I think every American should pay his or her taxes” Earnest continued.
Shorter White House: Sharpton owes taxes? What?
On a related note, during a recent speech in Chicago the White House stripped out a line from President Obama about unpaid bills piling up on his desk.
During a rare trip home to Chicago, Obama on Monday lamented the life he left behind. “One of the nice things about being home is actually that it’s a little bit like a time capsule,” he told supporters at a fundraiser.
“Because Michelle and I and the kids, we left so quickly that there’s still junk on my desk, including some unpaid bills,” he joked. “I think eventually they got paid–but they’re sort of stacked up. And messages, newspapers and all kinds of stuff.”
The White House, however, left the president’s quip about his unpaid bills out of the official transcript.
According to the transcript, the president said “we left so quickly that there’s still junk on my desk, including some–newspapers and all kinds of stuff.”
This morning, the White House issued an updated transcript, but it still didn’t mention the “unpaid bills.” Instead, it included an “inaudible” in that portion.
As the old cliche goes, birds of a feather flock together.