The Norman Transcript

Opinion

May 8, 2014

A courageous stand

NORMAN — No matter how the jury rules in Al Gerhart’s blackmail and computer crimes trial taking place in Oklahoma County this week, we tip our hat to state Sen. Cliff Branan, the Oklahoma City Republican legislator who said he’d had enough and turned Mr. Gerhart’s letters over to the OSBI.

Gerhart admitted to sending Branan an email that implied he would “dig into your past” if a hearing was not scheduled in the Senate Energy, Telecommunication and Environment Committee.

The March 26, 2013, email said if Branan’s committee didn’t take up a bill to prohibit state organizations from following a United Nations plan to help cities and countries become more environmentally sustainable, “I will make sure you regret not doing it.”

Gerhart, the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party, claimed free speech as his defense. That’s a sad use of the First Amendment. Who wants laws promulgated through bullying tactics?

Branan, according to testimony reported by the Associated Press, said he felt threatened and feared for his family’s safety. Branan had refused to give the bill a hearing, saying the legislation was based on a “fringe conspiracy” alleging that the U.N. wanted to use its Agenda 21 plan to encroach on the private property rights of Americans.

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