In the wake of three grand jury indictments unsealed Monday in Oklahoma City, State Sen. Randy Brogdon condemned the indictments and called them “nothing more than politically motivated.”
"Oklahomans should be outraged by the recent political attack by Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson on Paul Jacob, Susan Johnson, and Rick Carpenter,” said Brogdon, R-Owasso. “These individuals sought nothing more than to participate in their government through the initiative process protected by Oklahoma’s Constitution”.
In 2006, the Secretary of State certified over 300,000 valid Oklahoma signatures for SQ 726, the Stop Over Spending initiative. Brogdon said the petition effort illustrated widespread support by hard-working Oklahomans who wanted their government to live within its means.
Jacob, Johnson and Carpenter are charged with violating a state statute requiring petition circulators to be residents of Oklahoma. Jacob is the president of Citizens in Charge, which defends citizen initiative rights, and a senior fellow with the Sam Adams Alliance. Johnson is president of National Voter Outreach, a petition management firm who has successfully completed several previous petition drives in Oklahoma. Carpenter is president of Oklahomans in Action, which promoted a 2005 initiative to cap state spending.
Brogdon said the indictments would have a chilling effect on citizen participation and would make the average Oklahoman think twice before challenging the political machine. He said the grand jury's action essentially means that unless an individual is an elected official, or a political insider, that person no longer has a voice in Oklahoma government.
"Everyone should be deeply concerned about this," Brogdon said. "The Constitutional rights of every citizen of Oklahoma are in jeopardy as well as the liberty of three good people who face ten years in prison. If this shameful political assault succeeds, everyone is at risk. It is an outrage!”
Brogdon said the only crime committed was the disenfranchisement of over 300,000 Oklahoma voters who expressed their voice by exercising their Constitutional rights.
“It appears Drew Edmondson is more concerned with protecting his own political power than he is with preserving, protecting, and defending the right of Oklahomans to free speech,” Brogdon added. “This is nothing less than an attack on our Republican form of government.”