Reverend Al Sharpton and his National Action Network have been hit with a record $285,000 fine for allegedly violating a slew of federal election rules during his 2004 run for the Presidency, according to the New York Post. The allegations accuse Reverend Sharpton’s campaign of accepting campaign dollars from private sources as well as mixing election funds with the NAN, a no-no under the Federal Election Campaign Act. Reverend Sharpton issued the following statement to the press:

“In its rush to smear Reverend Al Sharpton arising from a complaint by the right wing group NLPC, making bogus criminal and intentional wrongdoing charges against Rev. Sharpton and his 2004 presidential campaign, the New York Post once again has misled the public, this time on the settlement with the Federal Election Commission. First, the settlement makes clear that there is no evidence of criminality or intentional wrongdoing by National Action Network, Reverend Sharpton or his campaign. Second, even the initial civil fine proposed by the FEC of $500,000 was reduced by nearly 50% once it knew all of the facts. Third, contradicting the Post headline that the settlement is a “record 285G fine” it is, in fact, far from it. For example, Freddie Mac paid $3.8 million in fines to the FEC, and the FEC had a $750,000 settlement –almost 3 times the fine here– with the Republican George Bush connected group American Voter Fund. Another right wing group, the Citizens Club for Growth paid $350,000 for campaign violations during the same election cycle, and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth had a higher fine than the one here.

It is obvious that today’s smear and grossly inaccurate Post story arises from Reverend Sharpton’s and National Action Network’s successful efforts to bring national attention to what some called a racist and inflammatory cartoon in the Post depicting President Obama as a chimpanzee and the widespread and growing concern that Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the Post should not receive a waiver from the Federal Trade Commission to also run WWOR channel 9. Here his paper is seeking to distort and smear rather than concede and accurately report the news.”