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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
405-521-5774

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For Immediate Release: April 10, 2008

Senator Harry Coates addresses media on Thursday at the Capitol about his stolen documents.
Sen. Harry Coates addresses media on Thursday at the Capitol about his stolen documents.

Sen. Coates says Small Group of Fanatics Has Stooped to New Lows

State Sen. Harry Coates said he was outraged that his private correspondences had been taken and used online without permission. Coates, R-Seminole, said he has also been the target of blogs posted fraudulently using his name, as well as numerous phone calls to his office, home and to other relatives, of an abusive and sometimes obscene nature.

“I know there are those who favor HB 1804 who sincerely believe their efforts will protect American jobs. They are frustrated with the federal government for failing to address illegal immigration,” Coates said. “However, recent events have shown a handful of fanatical supporters are willing to do anything they can to intimidate those who speak out against a bad law. That right, to question or even criticize our government, is the very basis of our democracy.”

Coates said after he came out in opposition to HB 1804, he started receiving hateful and even obscene anonymous phone calls at his Senate office and his home. Other family members were also targeted. Last Friday, someone using Coates’ name blogged on a newspaper website in response to a Tulsa County District Judge’s denial to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the immigration law.

Within the last two days, someone has been posting private emails from Sen. Coates online, after a file containing those messages disappeared from his office.

“Again, this is an overt attempt to embarrass and intimidate anyone who does not agree with the immigration law,” Coates said. “The Senate is currently conducting an internal investigation in an attempt to discover who is behind this. Once we learn their identity, that information will be turned over to law enforcement, and we would expect it to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

For more information contact:
Sen. Coates' Office:  (405) 521-5547

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