Last October, two colleagues and I were indicted by Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson. Our crime? Helping a petition drive to limit the growth of government spending.
Supposedly, we three willfully violated an arbitrary residency requirement for signature gatherers.
As I’ve explained at the freepauljacob.com website, we acted in good faith to comply with Oklahoma’s unconstitutional regulation. If the prosecution succeeds – if we do get jailed for ten years – it would be a chilling precedent. And sadly, that’s the point: to intimidate citizens from making any future petitions of government that might inconvenience the political establishment.
That’s why a Steve Forbes editorial asked, “Has North Korea Annexed Oklahoma?” and termed Edmondson’s actions “thuggish.” A Wall Street Journal editorial called the AG’s prosecution “bizarre,” expressing fear it would make citizens “think twice before challenging political elites.”
Several Oklahoma legislators have called the prosecution wrong-headed and politically-motivated.
So, Edmondson has begun – you guessed it – a PR offensive. In an opinion piece for a local paper, he wrote, “The Oklahoma Supreme Court and the multicounty grand jury both independently found these defendants to be in substantial violation of Oklahoma law.”
But wait a second. Neither a court, nor the grand jury, have found us guilty of anything. As an attorney and the highest law enforcement officer in the state, Edmondson must know this.We get our day in court. See you there.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.