We consider an optimal control problem governed by an elliptic variational inequality of the second kind. The problem is discretized by linear finite elements for the state and a variational discrete approach for the control. Based on a quadratic growth condition we derive nearly optimal a priori error estimates. Moreover, we establish second order sufficient optimality conditions that ensure a quadratic growth condition. These conditions are rather restrictive, but allow us to construct a one-dimensional locally optimal solution with reduced regularity, which serves as an exact solution for numerical experiments.