Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist married to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, says she is not abandoning the Tea Party-affiliated organization she founded.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, Thomas publicly disclosed for the first time that she resigned on Thursday as the leader of her Liberty Central, but stressed that she still plans to spend the bulk of her time working as a consultant for the organization’s newly-formed alliance with the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty.
The founder of that group, Gary Aldrich — a former FBI agent who gained fame in the nineties for a book he wrote on former President Bill Clinton — will assume the leadership of both organizations.
Thomas said a “Eureka moment” occurred earlier this year when she and Aldrich — who have known each other since the 1990s, but reconnected at recent Tea Party events — first envisioned a possible alliance.
“The more we realized where we both were, our shared missions, our share principles, our shared knowledge of the conservative movement,” she explained, “it became clear that there could be an alliance here.”
During a wide range discussion Thursday, both Thomas and Aldrich discussed the joining together of the two groups, outlined their goals and defended themselves from criticism in the media, including concerns that Thomas’ political activities could pose problems for her husband on the high court and Aldrich’s high-profile past could be a distraction for the Tea Party movement.
Though she repeatedly argued that her notoriety was not the reason for leaving the leadership, Thomas did say: “It’s better for the organization not to be centered around a personality.” She argued that “if you look at any of the established conservative groups, it’s hard for them to pull away from some of their leaders.”
Thomas also called it “laughable” that people would suggest her resignation is linked to the press she received recently for leaving a message soliciting an apology from Anita Hill, who in 1991 made sexual harassment accusations against Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings. Asked to elaborate on that voicemail, she called it “a private matter,” but said: “It was probably a mistake on my part.”
Instead, Thomas said, the idea for the joining together of both groups came about earlier this year when Aldrich felt his group’s 501(c)(3) status was restrictive because it stopped the Patrick Henry Center from engaging in political activities. Likewise, Thomas wanted Liberty Central, who as a 501(c)(4) can be involved in political campaigns, to have similar educational activities that Aldrich’s group does.
“Gary and I kept running into each other,” Thomas explained, “and so as we did that, we realized we have similar principles, we’re in the same space. I’m looking to do a (c)(3), he’s looking to do a (c)(4). Our missions were the same. And as he started seeing the value of Liberty Central and how he was anxious to do more lobbying, it all just made perfect sense.”
As for what her consulting role entails, Thomas said she will “help them in any way I can think of, whether it’s lobbying on the Hill or connecting with the grassroots, or helping speak or write or fundraise — whatever Gary wants to do with me.” While Thomas says she’s open to having other clients, her work on behalf of the groups is “the primary thing I’d be working on.”