The wheels of injustice creak along slowly.
Indicted in October last year, the Oklahoma Three — Rick Carpenter, Susan Johnson, and I — have still not had a full preliminary hearing. That first step has now been pushed back to next February.
Our alleged crime? Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Drew Edmondson, argues that we conspired to hire non-residents to gather signatures on a petition.
Never mind that state officials said the campaign’s hiring practices were perfectly legal. Never mind that the law itself is under constitutional challenge, with similar laws in Arizona and Ohio having been struck down earlier this year.
The real goal? Frighten and intimidate those who would dare petition to do things like cap runaway government spending, provide protection from government’s abuse of eminent domain, or limit the terms of politicians — like, say, Mr. Edmondson.
Opponents of the petition that triggered this prosecution amounted to a who’s who of wealthy, powerful Oklahomans, including entrenched political interests such as the teachers’ and public employees’ unions.
Recently I sent out a news release with a statement declaring our innocence and attacking this politically-motivated prosecution. Next thing I know, the Citizens in Charge website gets shut down. An email from the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority complained to our hosting service that the news release was spam.
The website was restored, but I tell you: “These are the times that try men’s souls.”
That’s Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.