Paul Jacob

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Paul Jacob
Organization Citizens in Charge
Political ideology: Libertarian
Key issues: Initiative & Referendum
Website Citizens in Charge
Current Campaigns
Past Campaigns

Paul Jacob (1960 - ) is an activist, organizer, and advocate for legislative term limits, initiative and veto referendum rights, and limited government in the United States. He writes a weekly column for and a short column called "Common Sense".

He is the president of Citizens in Charge, a national advocacy organization supporting initiative and veto referendum rights.

Known as a leader of the term limits movement, Jacob ran U.S. Term Limits, the nation's most active term limits advocacy group, from its inception in 1992 until 1999, becoming the movement's leading voice. Jacob helped citizens in 23 states place limits on their congressional delegations, prompting columnist Robert Novak to call him "the most hated man in Washington." But on May 22, 1995, those state-imposed congressional term limits, encompassing nearly half the U.S. Congress, were struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton. Today, 15 state legislatures, 36 governors and thousands of local officials, including those in nine of the country's ten largest cities, are under term limits. Jacob remains active as a board member and a senior fellow of U.S. Term Limits.

Draft resistance

Jacob first came to political prominence in the early 1980s as a draft registration resister. His crusade against forced military service and for the all-volunteer army was featured in Rolling Stone magazine. In 1985, after being convicted of violating the Selective Service Act, he served five months in federal prison, longer than any American draft resister since the Vietnam War.

Rise in the Libertarian Party

Jacob served on the National Committee of the Libertarian Party and then in 1987 and 1988 as the party's national director. In 1988, he worked to put Ron Paul on the ballot for president as a Libertarian, winning ballot access in 47 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam.

See Libertarian Party ballot access.

Political philosophy

Because Jacob emphasizes institutional and procedural reforms, his libertarian philosophy appears more centrist than either Left-libertarian or rightist. Though often writing from a background of cultural conservatism, his frequent criticisms of what he regards as Republican Party "excesses" distances his writing from that of most other columnists usually defined as "on the right".

Political targets

Frequent targets of his commentary include Republicans known for their pork barrel spending, such as Senator Ted Stevens, and both Democrats and Republicans who support campaign spending regulations, such as Senators Russ Feingold and John McCain. Paul Jacob has repeatedly argued that the McCain-Feingold law, and all similar campaign finance reform measures, are clear violations of the First Amendment.


Jacob was a senior advisor at the Sam Adams Alliance, which produces his Common Sense radio and internet commentary program: Common Sense.

Jacob also serves as president of Citizens in Charge, a group he started in 2001, dedicated to expanding Initiative and referendum rights to more states.

Prosecution by Drew Edmondson

In 2007, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson filed criminal charges against Jacob, Susan Johnson and Rick Carpenter, who became collectively known as the Oklahoma 3. Edmondson asserted that Jacob, Johnson and Carpenter had violated Oklahoma's ban on non-resident petition circulators. The charges were denied.

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-considered; 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".[1]

Edmondson's prosecution of Jacobs, Johnson and Carpenter led to the Free Paul Jacob movement. 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.[2],[3]

See also

External links


Portions of this article have been adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Copyright Notice can be found here.