In a conversation secretly recorded by the FBI in 2003, former Democratic presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton can be heard offering to help a Philadelphia fundraiser win a multimillion-dollar business deal in exchange for drumming up political contributions, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Saturday.
The Inquirer obtained an account of the conversation, in which Sharpton asks fundraiser Ronald A. White in a New York hotel to raise $50,000 for him.
After White counter-offered $25,000, he said, "If you bring my guys up on this hedge fund, and I have the right conversation, I'll give you what you need."
"Cool," Sharpton said.
The news comes after federal authorities subpoenaed financial records and employees connected with Sharpton earlier this week.
The FBI and the IRS are investigating Sharpton in connection with tax fraud and possible campaign finance violations stemming from his 2004 presidential bid, according to a person familiar with the investigation. They also are investigating the National Action Network and several businesses he runs.
In the Inquirer report, Sharpton said the FBI recordings vindicate him. He said there is "absolutely nothing illegal" about tying deals to fundraising because he was not a public official.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.