Roger Stone, the longtime Republican dirty-tricks operative who led the mob that shut down the Miami-Dade County recount and helped make George W. Bush president in 2000, is financing, staffing, and orchestrating the presidential campaign of Reverend Al Sharpton.
Though Stone and Sharpton have tried to reduce their alliance to a curiosity, suggesting that all they do is talk occasionally, a Voice investigation has documented an extraordinary array of connections. Stone played a pivotal role in putting together Sharpton’s pending application for federal matching funds, getting dollars in critical states from family members and political allies at odds with everything Sharpton represents. He’s also helped stack the campaign with a half-dozen incongruous top aides who’ve worked for him in prior campaigns. He’s even boasted about engineering six-figure loans to Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) and allowing Sharpton to use his credit card to cover thousands in NAN costs—neither of which he could legally do for the campaign. In a wide-ranging Voice interview Sunday, Stone confirmed his matching-fund and staffing roles, but refused to comment on the NAN subsidies.
Sharpton denounced the Voice’s inquiries as “phony liberal paternalism,” insisting that he’d “talk to anyone I want” and likening his use of Stone to Bill Clinton’s reliance on pollster Dick Morris, saying he was “sick of these racist double standards.” He did not dispute that Stone had helped generate matching contributions and staff the campaign. Asked about the Stone loans, he conceded that he “asked him to help NAN,” but attributed the financial aid to his and Stone’s joint “fight against the Rockefeller drug laws,” adding: “If he did let me use his credit card to cover NAN expenses, fine.” The finances of NAN and the Sharpton campaign have so merged in recent months that they have shared everything from contractors to consultants to travel expenses, though Sharpton insists that these questionable maneuvers have been done in compliance with Federal Election Commission regulations.