Paul Jacob Wins CPAC’s Courage Under Fire —- “You can have my petition rights when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.”

Fri, Feb 27 2009 by Anonymous

This evening, Paul Jacob, President of Citizens in Charge Foundation, was presented with the “Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award” from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Jacob was honored by CPAC for his commitment to citizen-led reform and his recent fight to uphold initiative rights in Oklahoma, where he had been indicted for helping citizens gather signatures for a state spending cap measure.

“I’m honored that CPAC would recognize our battle. This prosecution was intended to silence me and block citizen led reform through fear and intimidation,” said Jacob.

“All Americans have the fundamental right to enact change in their government and this right must be protected at all cost. I accept this award for millions of average Americans who ensure the government is accountable to them,” said Jacob.

Jacob ended his acceptance speech stating,

“You can have my petition rights when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.”

In 2005, Jacob assisted Oklahoma residents with a ballot initiative to cap state spending. In 2007, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmonson charged Jacob and two fellow activists (The Oklahoma Three) with a felony for allegedly hiring out-of-state petitioners, even through Oklahoma leadership of the initiative had consulted with state officials and followed their advise.

Facing a possibility of 10 years in prison, and against the advice of attorneys, Jacob did not remain silent. Instead, he spoke out strongly against the AG’s “politically-motivated” prosecution, rallying Oklahomans and citizens nationwide against the increasing criminalization of the political process. Paul launched a website – FreePaulJacob.com – to chronicle the case, receiving wide-spread support.

Last month, the charges against Jacob and The Oklahoma Three were finally dropped. The law underlying their prosecution was found to be unconstitutional. Pulitzer-Prize wining columnist Paul Greenburg wrote, “The best way to assure freedom of expression, no matter where it may be threatened, would be to have an army of utterly determined Paul Jacob fighting for it.”

Jacob was a featured speaker on a CPAC panel entitled, “Taking Action Through Citizen-Led Reform Panel: Conservative victories from citizen-led campaigns.” His group, Citizens In Charge Foundation is hosting an event on Saturday, February 28th at 2:00 pm in Congressional A & B on citizen led reform entitled “Love Taking Charge?: The Common Sense Tool for Kickin’ * One State At A Time.”

In the years where the award is merited CPAC, the nation’s largest gathering of conservative leaders and political activists, presents the “Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award” to an individual who has stood for principle even when doing so puts them at risk physically, politically or economically. Past recipients include Undersecretary John Bolton (2004), Chief M. G. Buthelezi, Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of South Africa (2001), Senator Jim DeMint and Senator Tom Coburn (2008).