The Norman Transcript

Editorials

April 14, 2013

Gerhart goes too far

NORMAN — Even some of his Sooner Tea Party supporters say co-founder Al Gerhart has gone too far in his emails to a state Senate committee chairman.

We doubt he’s a Tea Party backer but Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater apparently thinks he has.

Mr. Gerhart has been charged with felony blackmail for his threats emailed to Oklahoma City state Senator Cliff Branan. Mr. Gerhart, in an email, told the senator to hold a hearing for a United Nations Agenda 21 bill “or I will make sure you regret not doing it.”

Mr. Prater’s office filed the charges this past week. It’s a fine line between political speech and intimidation. We think Mr. Gerhart crossed from political advocacy to blackmail when he threatened to dig into Mr. Branan’s personal life.

It took some courage for the senator to forward the e-mail to law enforcement authorities. He’s a Republican and the Tea Party could hurt him at the ballot box come election time.

Lawmakers shouldn’t have to put up with that kind of communication.

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