A state senator Tuesday called an accusation about his marriage a lie and said his accuser, Sooner Tea Party co-founder Al Gerhart, is a bully.
“It just makes me sick. He has no shame,” Sen. Cliff Branan told The Oklahoman. “It was a crazy, untrue allegation that was just shameful. We've been happily married for nearly 18 years. … Our marriage is awesome.
“Nothing like that has ever happened. And I think, candidly, he got me confused with somebody else. It's just nuts.”
Gerhart on Tuesday accused Branan of infidelity during a news conference after coming under investigation for an email he sent Branan.
In the March 26 email, Gerhart wrote about House Bill 1412, which would prohibit state communities from having anything to do with the United Nations' Agenda 21 plan.
Misspelling one word, Gerhart wrote: “Get that bill heard or I will make sure you regret not doing it. 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, yoru family, your associates and once we start on you there will be no end to it. This is a promise.”
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has begun a blackmail inquiry over the email, OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown confirmed Tuesday.
At the news conference at the Capitol, Gerhart, 54, of Oklahoma City, admitted again that he sent the email but said he absolutely did nothing wrong.
“Political pain and embarrassment will be necessary if the citizens expect to regain control of this Senate down here from the state chamber of commerce and special interests,” he said. “The time for ‘nice' behavior is over with.”
After reading from prepared remarks, Gerhart told reporters that the scuttlebutt at the Capitol is that Branan “is concerned that we have some information on him on an alleged infidelity.”
“That is why Mr. Branan has reacted the way he does,” he said. “It's the real reason he's attacking us, according to the scuttlebutt inside the Senate. Why shouldn't I bring it up?”