Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is stepping down as president and CEO of Liberty Central, the Tea Party-affiliated think tank she founded, according to the Washington Post. Liberty Central spokesperson Caitlin Carroll (of CRC Public Relations) told the Post’s Amy Gardner that Thomas was relinquishing control of the organization to spare the organization the “distractions” caused by Thomas’s celebrity. From the Post:
“She’ll take a back seat so that Liberty Central can continue with its mission without any of the distractions,” Carroll said. “After discussing it with the board, Mrs. Thomas determined that it was best for the organization.”
Among those distractions is the one Mrs. Thomas created for herself when she dialed up Anita Hill, a professor at Brandeis University, last month to suggest that Hill apologize to Clarence Thomas for accusations Hill made during his Supreme Court nomination hearing that she had been sexually harassed by Thomas when she worked for him at a government agency. News of Ginni Thomas’s call to Hill brought forth another accuser — a former girlfriend of Clarence Thomas — who made claims similar to those articulated by Hill.
AlterNet reported links between Liberty Central and several far-right outfits: Gun Owners of America, headed by militia guru Larry Pratt (known for addressing a gathering of white supremacist groups in the 1990s, and declaring “war” on the federal government earlier this year); the Missouri Sovereignty Project, whose Web site features a video threatening armed insurrection against the government; and Tradition Family and Property, a religious cult that celebrates the Spanish Inquisition and trains teenage recruits in medieval warfare with spears and maces.
Now, reports the Post, Liberty Central will merge with the Patrick Henry Center, whose board is headed by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, who served under President Ronald Reagan and presided over the Iran-Contra scandal. The Patrick Henry Center was founded by Gary Aldrich, the former FBI agent who found his way onto the best-seller list with a book that accused the Clintons of compromising national security. The Patrick Henry Center advisory board includes talk-show host Mark Levin — who has made sexist comments about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s anatomy, and tossed about incendiary rhetoric about President Barack Obama — as well as Oliver North, who was convicted of a felony in the Iran-Contra scandal — a verdict that was later tossed out on a technicality.
Also on the Patrick Henry advisory board are two anti-gay activists: Beverly LaHaye, founder of the Concerned Women for America, and Alan Sears, head of the Alliance Defense Fund. Rounding out the advisory board is Howard Phillips, founder of the Constitution Party, which seeks to replace secular law with biblical law. Phillips is one of the founders of the religious right, and a close associate of John Birch Society President John McManus.