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OK Tea Party Founder Charged With Blackmailing State Senator

A co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party was charged Tuesday with blackmail over an email that he admits sending to a state senator.

Oh dear. This patriot is being oppressed over his fight to protect our nation from U.N. conspiracies by threatening to disclose a state senator's alleged marriage problems! You'd think someone so obviously well-versed in our constitution would also know that extortion is a crime. Just imagine if teabaggers took all that energy and applied it to something useful -- like Medicare for all, or stopping the chained CPI:

A co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party was charged Tuesday with blackmail over an email that he admits sending to a state senator.

Al Gerhart, 54, of Oklahoma City, also was charged with violating the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act. Both counts are felonies.

Gerhart, a carpenter, denied any wrongdoing after coming under investigation last week. He had not been arrested yet Tuesday evening.

Gerhart sent the email March 26 to Sen. Cliff Branan, promising to make the senator a laughing stock unless the Senate Energy and Environment Committee passed a bill dealing with a United Nations plan. Branan, R-Oklahoma City, is chairman of the committee. The senator turned the email over to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Misspelling one word, Gerhart wrote: “Branan, Get that bill heard or I will make sure you regret not doing it. I will make you the laughing stock of the Senate if I don't hear that this bill will be heard and passed. We will dig into your past, yoru family, your associates and once we start on you there will be no end to it. This is a promise.”

Gerhart admitted at a news conference at the Capitol last week that he sent the email.

“Political pain and embarrassment will be necessary if the citizens expect to regain control of this Senate down here from the state chamber of commerce and special interests,” he said. “The time for ‘nice' behavior is over with.”

[...] Last week, Gerhart claimed his email was constitutionally protected free speech. He also said the investigation of the email was an attempt to harass him because the Sooner Tea Party tactics are effective.

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