The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are investigating the Rev. Al Sharpton for tax fraud and possible campaign violations stemming from his 2004 U. S. presidential bid.
Sharpton’s civil rights organization, the National Action Network, is also being investigated.
Sharpton decried the probe at a news conference at the Harlem headquarters of the National Action Network, where he suggested that the U. S. Justice Department was retaliating against him for his civil rights advocacy.
“This is a 21st Century J. Edgar Hoover move,” Sharpton told news media outlets. “If they can’t stop you, they’ve got to try to slow you down and discredit you. That is all this is.”
Sharpton added, “Every major civil rights leader I can think of from Martin Luther King Jr. to Marcus Garvey to Adam Clayton Powell has had to face this kind of harassment.”
The FBI served subpoenas on a number of Sharpton’s employees.
Sharpton said that he was suspicious about the timing of the probe, which comes several months after he led a march on the Justice Department to demand federal intervention in the Jena 6 case in Louisiana.
“We had a phenomenal year, from Jena to (radio host) Don Imus to putting 50,00 people in front of the Justice Department, so we expected them to make some kind of move. We didn’t expect them to be so blatant,” Sharpton said.