Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is giving up control of the Tea Party-inspired conservative advocacy group she founded just a year ago, The Washington Post reports.
“She’ll take a back seat so that Liberty Central can continue with its mission without any of the distractions,” Liberty Central spokesperson Caitlin Carroll, of CRC Public Relations, told the Post. “After discussing it with the board, Mrs. Thomas determined that it was best for the organization.”
Carroll said that an announcement today or tomorrow would detail Thomas’ decision and the merger of Liberty Central with another organization, while an anonymous source told the Post that Liberty Central will be merging with the Virginia-based Patrick Henry Center.
Thomas founded Liberty Central in November 2009 to assist “new citizen-activists in their search for educational resources and for tangible ways to impact our current political environment,” according to the group’s website. As The Los Angeles Times reported in March, Thomas told an audience at CPAC 2010 that she “felt called to the front lines with you, with my fellow citizens, to preserve what made America great.”
[TPM SLIDESHOW: ‘The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy’: CPAC 2010]
Keith Appell, a senior vice president of CRC Public Relations, told Politics Daily that the conversation with the Post’s Amy Gardner about Thomas’ move was off the record, and that Gardner “breached confidentiality.”
Thomas was in the news recently for a reason unrelated to Liberty Central. In October, Thomas left a message on the voicemail of Brandeis University professor Anita Hill, asking for Hill to apology for the testimony she gave at Justice Thomas’ confirmation hearings in 1991. The incident made headlines nationwide.
Caitlin Carroll did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.
Late Update: Liberty Central is disputing the Washington Post’s story, in particular the report of any deal to merge with another group. In a statement to TPM (that does not mention Thomas at all), the group’s Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Sarah Field wrote:
The current story by Amy Gardner in the Washington Post is inaccurate. There are many opportunities being presented to Liberty Central, but there is no agreement at this time. In fact, there are several options on the table. As everyone knows, the Tea Party movement is a very fast-paced, dynamic movement and there are always these sorts of collaborative opportunities being discussed. Precisely because of Liberty Central’s effectiveness, many of these opportunities did present themselves to us and they are still in the discussion stages.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com