Colgate-Palmolive Asked to Repudiate Award From Sharpton

The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) today asked Colgate-Palmolive to repudiate a so-called “Corporate Excellence Award” award it received on April 2 from Al Sharpton. In a letter to Colgate-Palmolive Chairman Reuben Mark, NLPC President Peter Flaherty wrote, “Receiving a ‘corporate excellence’ award from Sharpton is a dubious honor indeed. His organization, the National Action Network, has been beset by legal and accounting problems for years, prompting a number of investigations.

Moreover, recent media reports indicate that Sharpton may soon be indicted by a grand jury.” “Colgate-Palmolive received the award for fostering an ‘inclusive workplace.’ But who is Sharpton to be handing out such an award in light of his involvement in hoaxes such as the Tawana Brawley episode and the Duke rape case? Sharpton is not a legitimate civil rights leader.”

“It is simply inappropriate for a large, publicly held company like Colgate-Palmolive to have such a close association with a racial hustler like Sharpton. We ask that you publicly repudiate this award.” Of the award, made at the National Action Conference in Memphis, Flaherty said, “Perhaps the real reason for the award is Colgate-Palmolive’s financial support for Sharpton and the National Action Network. Sharpton is now bankrolled by corporate America, a recent development that will come as a nasty surprise to many shareholders, employees and customers.”

Among the corporate entities identified as “sponsors” of the National Action Network conference were Abbott Laboratories, Allstate, American Honda, Anheuser-Busch, Chase Foundation, Citigroup, Continental Airlines, Daimler-Chrysler, Entergy, FedEx, Ford, General Motors, Home Depot, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Pfizer, UPS Foundation and Wal-Mart.

The conference program listed a number of speeches and panels, including a session titled “The Future of Black Politics.” The sole participant was listed as indicted Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA). Flaherty continued, “Colgate-Palmolive may want to repudiate the award before Sharpton changes his mind. In 2005, Sharpton withdrew similar awards to Wal-Mart and Tyson’s Foods, claiming he was ‘unaware’ of purported racial discrimination at those companies until after the awards were made.”

NLPC has sought to expose corruption involving Sharpton and the National Action Network. In February 2004, NLPC filed a Complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Sharpton and Detroit businessman La-Van Hawkins alleging massive violations of election law. In May 2004, the FEC ruled that Sharpton’s campaign must return $100,000 in federal matching funds.

The FEC also denied Sharpton an additional $70,000. In December 2007, as many as 10 associates and employees of Sharpton were subpoenaed to appear in front of a grand jury reportedly investigating Sharpton’s 2004 presidential campaign. According to press reports, Sharpton was secretly videotaped pocketing campaign donations from Hawkins in a New York City hotel room.

In January of 2004, the FEC fined Sharpton $5,000 as a result of an earlier and separate NLPC Complaint alleging election law violations. NLPC promotes ethics in public life, and sponsors the Corporate Integrity Project.

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