Tea Party

facebook

The co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party has been fined $1,000 for felony blackmail and computer crimes convictions.

Al Gerhart was sentenced Tuesday in Oklahoma County District Court. He faced up to ten years in prison, but the jury that convicted him in May recommended that he not serve prison time and the judge followed the jury's recommendation.

It's easy to forget that the tea party movement is still less than 5 years old. Its successes include the 2010 midterm elections, when it helped the GOP win back the U.S. House.

It was once again a noisy and resurgent player in American politics in 2013. But that doesn't mean it was a year of victories: The movement's campaign to repeal Obamacare failed, and public approval hit near-record lows after the tea party forced a partial government shutdown. Even tea party events aren't as large as they once were.

Sean MacEnte / Flickr.com

A judge has refused to dismiss blackmail charges filed against the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party.

Thursday's ruling clears the way for Al Gerhart to go to trial in January on charges of blackmail and violating the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act. Prosecutors say Gerhart sent an email with the intent to intimidate Republican Sen. Cliff Branan of OklahomaCity, who is chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.

The fate of a bill that would stop communities from putting parts of a voluntary United Nations sustainability program called Agenda 21 into place may not make it out of a state Senate committee. Oklahoma Tea Party leader Al Gerhart is under investigation for an email he sent to Sen. Cliff Branan promising trouble if the bill failed in the senator's committee.