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Thursday, August 29, 2013

RI Ethics Commission rules Tina Jackson violated state ethics law

GOP candidate for state Representative racks up more violations
By Will Collette

When you've been arrested and convicted for as many crimes as 2012 Republican House candidate and Charlestown Republican activist Tina Jackson has, obeying civil regulations and government rules seems to hold little meaning.

I recently reported that Jackson has now failed to file the last five campaign finance disclosure reports and now owes fines of just under $1600 to the state Board of Elections.

I just received a letter from the RI Ethics Commission notifying me that they have upheld my complaint against Jackson for failing to file the required annual financial disclosure form that all candidates for public office must file. Though that complaint took a while to reach that point, this one was a slam dunk since (a) Tina Jackson was a candidate for public office (and her campaign committee is still active, according to the Board of Elections); (b) candidates must file financial disclosure reports and (c) she didn’t.

A quick check of some of the other things that apparently are not very important to Tina Jackson:


She claims to be the lobbyist and representative of down-trodden workers in the fishing industry fighting for the right to fish for whatever they want, wherever they want. She even set up a non-profit lobbying organization for them to do that called the American Alliance of Fishermen and their Communities. The problem is Tina does not respond to forms.

Twice now, she has been so delinquent on filing the standard, very simple state annual report that the Secretary of State has revoked the organization’s right to do business in Rhode Island. Secretary Ralph Mollis pulled the plug on the group last January. 

When Jackson attempted to formally intervene on behalf of her group against the Deepwater off-shore wind farm project, she was denied standing because her group’s corporate charter had been revoked.

Nine months later, and she still hasn’t straightened out this mess, even though it cost her the chance for intervenor status in the Deepwater off-shore wind proceedings.

It’s a relatively easy fix: you pay a fine and file the missing reports and the Secretary of State reinstates you, but I guess that’s too much trouble.


Jackson also doesn't see fit to file IRS 990 reports. She incorporated the group as a state non-profit in 2009 but apparently has not filed for federal tax exemption status. Since Jackson’s group is primarily engaged in political advocacy and lobbying, it may not qualify as a federal 501(c)(3), the highly prized status that allows donors to deduct their donations.

It certainly won’t qualify since its state corporate charter has been revoked.

Oh, and Jackson still has not registered either her organization or herself as lobbyists with the state of Rhode Island which is required if you’re going to lobby on state legislation – as she has. And there are more forms to file, etc., etc.

But Tina Jackson doesn’t do any of that stuff. She’s just a crusader for the right and true even though she apparently doesn’t follow any of the rules herself.

It will be interesting if she pursues her efforts to take over control of the Charlestown Republican Party. It’ll be even more interesting if she decides to take another shot at challenging Rep. Donna Walsh or run for some other public office. If she doesn't plan to run for office again in 2014, what would be the point of her keeping her campaign committee active? Does she enjoy racking up fines?

By 2014, no doubt she will have figured out how to explain her colorful criminal past and all the many lapses and violations she has incurred, including this latest violation of the state Ethics Law.