|| Friday, Jan. 14, 2005 11:32 a.m. EST
The New York Stock Exchange refused this week to allow the Rev. Jesse Jackson to hold his annual Wall Street Project fund-raising event on the Exchange floor, and is also rebuffing the one-time civil rights leader's annual demand for $100,000.
In years past, business leaders and top government officials came out in droves to support the Jackson event, especially during the Clinton era – with many of them ponying up six-figure sums in the name of "minority business outreach."
In 1998, the debut year of the Project, Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, Securities and Exchange Chairman Arthur Levitt and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, along with Donald Trump, showed up to support Jackson's so-called "diversity agenda."
But as Investor's Business Daily noted earlier this week, with Jackson friend Richard Grasso no longer running the Big Board, the Wall Street Project gravy train has chugged to a halt.
"Truth is," said IBD, "Jackson's been losing clout and credibility for some time. He's no longer a star, no longer untouchable." Even former Jackson shakedown conquests like Toyota and NASCAR are beginning to distance themselves from the reverend.
"The NYSE cutoff is a dramatic step that puts the individual companies that bankroll Jackson on the spot," noted Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center, in comments to CNSNews.com.
"It is a lot harder for the Verizons and PepsiCos to argue that there's nothing wrong with supporting Jackson's groups."