Rev. Al Sharpton’s 2004 presidential campaign owes nearly a million dollars, 17 years after Sharpton lost in the Democratic primary race.
According to Federal Election Commission records, by the end of 2004, Sharpton’s campaign owed $567,096.28, only for that number to skyrocket years later when the FEC reached a settlement agreement with Sharpton, his campaign committee and its treasurer, and Sharpton’s National Action Network.
"Sharpton, his presidential campaign committee, Sharpton 2004, and Andrew Rivera, in his official capacity as treasurer, agreed to pay a civil penalty of $208,000 for failing to report accurately all receipts and expenditures, receiving excessive and prohibited in-kind contributions and accepting impermissible corporate contributions," an April 2009 FEC press release said.
In addition to the $208,000 penalty, the settlement agreement called for Sharpton's campaign to reimburse the National Action Network $181,115 or pay the U.S. Treasury Department. Sharpton and the National Action Network, which he founded, also agreed to pay a $77,000 penalty "for making prohibited contributions to Sharpton 2004."
A quarterly report filed by the campaign committee on Monday revealed that it has yet to pay the $208,000 penalty, the $181,115 reimbursement, or other debts, such as $145,146.60 to Kinko’s for fundraising letter preparation. In total, the FEC says the campaign committee owes $925,713.78, although the committee's filing shows a total of $888,713.81.
Fox News reached out to the National Action Network for comment but it has not responded.
Sharpton, who now hosts a show on MSNBC, told the New York Post in February 2020 that he wanted to make sure the debt is paid off.
"I am willing to work out a settlement for all claims with my own money to the degree that I’m allowed and will raise money directly," he said. "Even if I am not legally liable for it, I am certainly morally responsible."
Sharpton was one of the last Democrats to withdraw from the primary race that was ultimately won by John Kerry, even though he did not win any delegates.