Virginia warns wife of Justice Clarence Thomas her group is violating law
"State officials tell Virginia Thomas that her conservative advocacy group, Liberty Central Inc., must comply with a law that requires registration before seeking donations.
Reporting from Washington
By Kathleen Hennessey
Los Angeles Times
March 19, 2010
Virginia consumer-protection officials have warned the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas that her advocacy group is improperly soliciting contributions in the state.
In a letter to Virginia Thomas on Thursday, the state Office of Consumer Affairs directed Liberty Central Inc. to the Virginia law that requires groups to register with the office or request an exemption before seeking donations for a charitable purpose.
Liberty Central is a Virginia-based group soliciting contributions online and is not registered or exempt, said Michael Wright, the manager of regulatory programs at the Office of Consumer Affairs, a branch of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Under state law, political advocacy is considered a charitable purpose.
"They should be filed with us," he said.
Thomas is the president and chief executive of Liberty Central, a nonprofit group hoping to mobilize conservatives online.
The group, which is aiming to appeal to small-government "tea party" activists, was incorporated in Delaware in January and is registered with the Virginia State Corporation Commission."
She's sloppy in setting up her organization but quick to blame Liberals. What else is new?
In addition to its website solicitations, Liberty Central asked for donations in an e-mail this week, after The Times reported on the group and Thomas' unprecedented role as an outspoken political advocate married to a Supreme Court justice.
"Although we're just getting started, we're already under attack from the left and its allies in the liberal media!" the e-mail said, noting The Times' story. "Our fully functioning Liberty Central website will launch in early May, but we invite you to send friends, family members and other known 'patriots' to subscribe or donate."
Under attack from the "liberal media?" If she hadn't made this blunder, the media wouldn't have had to report it.
Matt Sussman over at Technorati had this to say:
"Goof! You'd imagine an ambitious activist like Ginni Thomas would know all the rules (and check them twice since she does share a bed with someone who's pretty well-versed in the law) before going whole hog into the partisan soup. But the Virginia officials are here to help and inform, not to penalize. Now that LC is aware of the need to register, they can snuff out the oversight and begin raking in the campaign dollars.
Or they can refuse to register and see what happens. I wonder how the Supreme Court would rule on that."