Back in June of 1992 when speaking to a gathering of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, then-presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Bill Clinton, repudiated the African-American hip-hop artist/activist Lisa Williamson (AKA Sister Souljah) for her comments suggesting blacks should stop killing blacks and should instead “have a week” where they “kill white people.”
This became the first “Sister Souljah moment” where a politician excoriates an extremist associated with his political party in order to distance himself from such extremism and better appeal to the political center as Bill Clinton did so well in the 1992 campaign and indeed throughout his political career (well, except his first two years in the White House).
Now, his successor as presumptive Democratic nominee has a great opportunity for his own Sister Souljah moment. Via Instapundit, we learn that the Reverend Al Sharpton, a radical activist to whom Democratic presidential candidates traditionally pander despite his demagogic history, faces federal scrutiny with the “IRS sending out a flurry of subpoenas to his most generous corporate donors.”
While Sharpton calls this a “fishing expedition,”
The IRS and the US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn have an ongoing probe into Sharpton’s finances going back to his 2004 run for president and stewardship of NAN [Sharpton’s National Action Network].
Last year, [Democratic New York] state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo began a probe of NAN because it failed to follow state financial-disclosure regulations for nonprofits.
Obama should demand that Sharpton and his donors comply with the subpoenas and promise that in an Obama Administration, the Justice Department would aggressively pursue this investigation, filing charges when warranted. He would say further that he believes the facts warrant an investigation given that “As of 2006, the most recent year that financial documents for the group [NAN] are publicly available, it owed $1.9 million in payroll taxes and penalties.”
Sharpton wouldn’t be able to play the race card against Obama (though he will certainly try). Obama’s candor on this issue could help distance himself from the angry New York minister. And could even have the added benefit of silencing this charlatan.