Controversial civil rights activist and MSNBC host the Rev. Al Sharpton was paid $1,046,948 by his own charity in 2018, tax filings for the National Action Network show, according to the New York Post.
"Sharpton got a $324,000 salary — 32% higher than his 2017 pay — in addition to a $159,596 bonus and $563,352 in 'other compensation,'" the report stated.
The nonprofit, which is based in Harlem, said in a statement that the pay was to make up for the previous 13 years since 2004 when "he was underpaid and received no bonus."
NAN, of which Sharpton is the president and founder, had hired an outside executive compensation firm to "review, formalize, and resolve" any outstanding financial compensation owed to Sharpton.
NAN's Board of Directors claim they underwent the review in order to ensure Sharpton remain "at the helm of the organization for at least another three years."
Taking the recommendation from the outside firm, NAN decided to pay Sharpton $1.252 million — the amount to cover all the back pay issues in full. According to NAN, Sharpton formally agreed to accept $500,000 less than the aforementioned amount.
Sharpton and the board agreed that he has now been fully compensated.
Sharpton defends his big pay day
After the news broke, Sharpton defended himself at his weekly rally at NAN's House of Justice in Harlem — an event where attendees donate money to the reverend, the Post noted.
"Fifteen years, you are talking about since 2004 when I came back after running for president," he reportedly said in reference to the years he went underpaid.
"For anybody else, it would be laughable," he commended himself.
"It's a six-day-a-week job and several hours a day and when [the outside compensation firm] compared it to other companies, other nonprofits, that's the salary that they would get," he argued.
According to the Post, the last year Sharpton went without a salary was 2008, and that he has made well into the six figures every year since. The report also notes that Sharpton's average yearly pay from 2007-2016 was $287,543, which NAN has said fell within the competitive range of those who held similar positions.
In 2014, Sharpton received a significant pay raise, garnering $348,244 plus a $64,400 bonus that year.
This is not the first time Sharpton and NAN's business dealings have aroused controversy. Last year, Sharpton sold the rights to his life story to the organization for $531,000.
In the statement, NAN also felt it had to defend their purchase of the rights to his life story, saying, "[the profit for NAN] will exceed in one-year what they put up for [Sharpton's] life rights in ten-years."
According to its website, the "National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the Nation" and works to "promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, citizenship, criminal record, economic status, gender, gender expression, or sexuality."