An Oklahoma tea party leader has threatened to turn a Republican state senator into a "laughing stock" and "dig into" his family members and associates unless he backs a bill blocking the United Nations' sustainability agenda.
State Sen. Cliff Branan (R-Oklahoma City) referred a March 26 email from Al Gerhart, co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party, to the state Bureau of Investigation, newsok.com reported. The email attacks Branan for not holding an immediate hearing on a bill to ban local governments in Oklahoma from implementing parts of the U.N. sustainability agenda, better known as Agenda 21.
“Get that bill heard or I will make sure you regret not doing it," Gerhart wrote in the email. "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, your family, your associates and once we start on you there will be no end to it. This is a promise.”
Gerhart told newsok.com that he sent the email and acknowledged it was a political threat. He denied he intended it as a physical threat.
“We want to know what is going on down there," Gerhart told newsok.com. "We want to know if his wife has got a criminal history. We want to know everything about him. We want to find out if this man is a responsible citizen, if he's even got his family under control much less control of his office."
The Oklahoma legislation has passed the state House of Representatives, but Branan has not brought it before the Senate Energy Committee, which he chairs.
Agenda 21, drafted in 1992 but not ratified by the U.S. Senate, encourages sustainable development, including bike paths, mass transit and walkable communities. The plan does not contain the force of law in the U.S.
Conservative groups, led by the John Birch Society, have denounced the plan, falsely claiming it would take away private property rights and force people to live in urban centers. They have also wrongly maintained that it would end golf courses, scuba diving and floor tiles. The John Birch Society has advocated for people to pressure state and local officials to pass legislation rejecting Agenda 21, enlisting PTA presidents and milkmen in the effort.
Oklahoma state Sen. Patrick Anderson (R-Enid), sponsor of the anti-Agenda 21 bill, said in December that he wanted to preserve private property rights.
States around the country, most of them Republican-led, have taken up legislation to either prohibit the enactment of Agenda 21 by local governments or to pass resolutions opposing the plan. Democrats have largely dismissed the Agenda 21 criticism as tinfoil hat madness.