Johnson is one of the Oklahoma 3. Johnson, Paul Jacob and Rick Carpenter were criminally charged by Drew Edmondson, the Democratic attorney general of Oklahoma in 2007 for allegedly violating the state's residency requirement. The charges were denied and, as the result of a federal lawsuit, Yes on Term Limits v. Savage, the Tenth Circuit ruled unanimously on December 18, 2008 that the law under which Edmondson was criminally prosecuting the trio was unconstitutional. Edmondson asked the court to re-consider; on January 21, the court said it would not do so. Edmondson then on January 22 dropped his prosecution, saying that the 1969 law under which he was prosecuting them was "no longer enforceable."
In the eighteen months that elapsed between the time that Edmondson filed and then dropped the charges, his attempt to jail the Oklahoma 3 for ten years led the Wall Street Journal to compare the government in Oklahoma to that of Pakistan, and led Steve Forbes of Forbes to compare the government of Oklahoma to the government of North Korea.
Background of Oklahoma 3
On October 2, 2007, Johnson, Paul Jacob and Rick Carpenter were indicted in Oklahoma based on allegations about their role in the 2005 petition drive for an Oklahoma TABOR initiative that, had the drive succeeded, would have placed a Taxpayer Bill of Rights initiative on the November 2006 general election ballot in that state.
Jacob, Johnson, and Carpenter were indicted on felony charges of "conspiracy to defraud the state." Carpenter was charged with a second felony, that of violating the state's petition act. According to an AP report, "The indictment accuses the three of 'willfully, corruptly, deceitfully, fraudulently and feloniously' conspiring with each other to defraud the state through the collection of signatures on the TABOR petition."
In a prepared statement released upon indictment, Paul Jacob wrote that the prosecution was "not about the law, but rather 100 percent politically motivated. This is politics – very ugly politics." As well as challenging the motives of the prosecution, Jacob noted the many troubles of the constitutionality of the laws upon which the prosecution is based, adding that "constitutional or not, we obeyed the statute."
The multicounty grand jury indictment was unsealed on Tuesday, October 2, 2007. The defendants were taken out of court shackled to each other with handcuffs and leg-irons, and released later in the day. Paul Jacob was widely quoted as saying that the charges "will not stand."
Grand jury indictment dismissed
In mid-November 2007, the multi-county grand jury indictment was dismissed, apparently because of flaws in its composition. It is expected that the charges will be refiled directly by Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson.
Support of Susan Johnson
R-Sen. Randy Brogdon released a public statement on October 5, 2007 supporting Johnson and Paul Jacob, saying "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 said. “This is nothing less than an attack on our Republican form of government.”
- National Voter Outreach website
- Free the OK 3
- Susan Johnson bio
- Selection of NVO articles about the 2005 Taxpayer Bill of Rights petition in Oklahoma.
- Has Oklahoma's Attorney General gone overboard?
- Validating Signatures Article by Rick Arnold and Susan Johnson in 1997 "Campaigns and Elections" magazine
- Associated Press, "State won't appeal initiative petition ruling," January 22, 2009
- Wall St. Journal, "Oklahoma's Most Wanted; The latest thing in political felonies: a petition drive"
- Forbes magazine, "Has North Korea Annexed Oklahoma?"
- "Petition Backers Indicted On Felony Charges" (dead link) Associated Press, 10/2/2007
- "Statement of Paul Jacob", PaulJacob.com, 10/2/2007
- Case#CF-2007-4713, Indictment PDF
- "TABOR petition backers indicted", Tulsa World, October 2, 2007
- Oklahoma indictment dismissed but re-indictment likely
- Sen. Brogdon says Oklahomans Should be Dismayed by Politically Motivated Indictment of Citizen Activists, Oklahoma State Senate, Oct 5th, 2007
- Payback for Activism
- Unconstitutional Oklahoma law
- Who is next on the state's hit list?
- Outrageous political ploy to quell citizen rights (dead link)