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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Coup attempt on GOP Town Committee

Plus, Tina Jackson cited for multiple campaign finance violations
Jackson violated campaign finance law
By Will Collette

NOTE: this article originally ran on Saturday, pre-scheduled before the lights went out. Since most Charlestown readers probably missed it on Saturday, here it is again.

Tina Jackson, who has been pushed by state GOP chair Mark Zaccaria to take over Charlestown's Republican Town Committee has some more messy fallout to explain from her failed attempt to unseat state Representative Donna Walsh.

We've just learned that Jackson has a long string of campaign finance violations and the fines for those violations are increasing daily. This is hardly a great shock, given Jackson's long criminal rap sheet and wide-ranging legal problems, all of which came out during her campaign.

Inexplicably in view of this public record, out-going GOP Chair Mark Zaccaria picked Jackson to spearhead a "reorganization" of the Town Committee which was to begin at a February 4 meeting at the Breachway Grill.

But there was minor hitch - the GOP Committee members had already reorganized the town committee for the new term at a meeting on January 30. Five of the nine members who had filed their paperwork last summer and were duly certified to service called the meeting where Gregg Avedisian was elected as the new GOP town chair.

The other members are Candi Dunn, Forrester Safford, Gretchen Tingley, and Carol Ann King. Ellen McVey also joined the committee. 
Mark Zaccaria resigned just days after his party
got its ass kicked in the November election.
The party has not picked a replacement.
Before Zaccaria goes, he wanted
to leave a little present for Charlestown

They filed their paperwork with the Board of Elections before the Zaccaria-Jackson coup d'etat meeting.

According to my sources, the legitimate town Republican committee members were not consulted by State Party Chair Zaccaria before he selected Jackson to be the party standard-bearer in Charlestown and before February 4 meeting was called.

And they never asked Zaccaria to come in and "rescue" them.

I'm sure Zaccaria didn't do any more due diligence on Jackson to uncover these most recent violations than he did last spring when he picked her to run for General Assembly. 

Now, about the newly uncovered violations, according to the state Board of Elections database, Jackson failed to file her last three Campaign Finance Reports. 

In an e-mail to me, BOE Finance Director Richard Thornton reports:

“Ms. Jackson has received 4 Notices of Non-Compliance, 2 each for the 7 Days Before Election report and 28 Days After Election report, and will shortly be receiving another Notice of Non-Compliance for the 4th Quarter report. As of today, Ms. Jackson owes $221 in late filing penalties and fees which is increasing at a daily rate of $4. In addition, we have left 3 voicemail messages with Ms. Jackson because of a problem with her 28 Days Before Election filing.”

So three non-filings and one problematic one. Fines accumulating on a daily basis.

And she’s going to straighten out the Charlestown Republican Town Committee whether or not they actually want her to do it?

This is not the first time Tina Jackson has broken the law. Repeatedly.

According to records uncovered by the Westerly Sun, Jackson has been repeatedly arrested for forged prescriptions for narcotics and for driving without a license. Add to her rap sheet writing bad checks at Rippy’s. Domestic assault. Assault and battery.

She has had IRS tax liens placed against her and been sued by people she owned money.

The Secretary of State revoked the corporate charter of the lobbying group she founded. And that’s just as well, because she has not filed the required lobbyist reports with the Secretary of State, either.

It was ridiculous enough when Jackson was recruited by the state Republican Party to run for state Representative. Presumably, they didn’t do their due diligence and Jackson didn’t tell them about her colorful past.

At least that’s seems to be the case, given her reaction to the Westerly Sun’s expose of her sordid past where she went on a rant against Sun reporter Chris Keegan saying that all those records were supposed to be expunged. They weren't - and even if they were, it doesn't mean her crimes didn't happen.

Her excuse that she had committed her crimes “for her children” also didn’t pass the laugh test. It’s hard to understand how using forged prescriptions to get Vicodin was "for her kids." Or her assault and battery. Or her busts for DUI, or being a fugitive from justice. Or all the driving-without-a-license busts.

But it’s hard to figure how, eyes wide open, out-going state Republican Chair Mark Zacarria would bless Jackson’s effort to take over the Republican Town Committee.

At present, despite the affection GOP Chair Zaccaria has for her, Jackson has no position or standing within the town Republican Town Committee. Under the committee's bylaws, Jackson must attend three committee meetings - and presumably not be thrown out - after which she can petition for membership. Then it is up to the committee members whether they want to vote her in. Or not.