Local blogger claiming FBI intimidation

January 17, 2011

By: Donna Osborn, CCHeadliner.com

Local blogger Clay Bowler said newly-elected 7th District Rep. Billy Long has tried to silence him before. And, after the FBI paid him a visit at his Ozark home Jan. 12, he thinks he’s trying to do it again.

“It’s political payback,” Bowler said after visiting Christian County Sheriff Joey Kyle Jan. 13 apprising him of the FBI investigation.

Bowler writes the Bungalow Bill’s Conservative Wisdom blog and said he’s been critical of Long since his candidacy for Congress. Bowler is also the author of the Long is Wrong blog that’s been gone since Long won the general election in November.

“I’ve poked fun at Billy,” Bowler said. “Part of it was satire—exposing Billy as not being a real Tea Party candidate.”

Bowler said Long even offered him a job on his campaign if he would give up his critical blogging.

Bowler was accompanied to the Sheriff’s Department by Michael Wardell, Nixa, who was also on the Republican primary ticket. Wardell said he just wanted to support his friend in what he believes to be intimidation.

“Clay is a friend,” he said. “This almost smacks of an overreach of power.”

Kyle said he was unaware that an FBI agent, along with Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott, paid a 30-minute visit to Bowler, but cautioned against an overreaction.

“This could be a knee-jerk reaction to the Tucson situation,” he said. “If you satisfy them you’re not a threat—they won’t be back.”

Bowler’s complaint comes on the heels of another developing news story about Long.

KSMU, Ozark’s Public Radio, reported Jan. 12 that Scott Eckersley, who opposed Long as a Democrat, said a campaign fraud complaint made by Eckersley in the last days of the election cycle is formally being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department.

That complaint sprang from a fake e-mail sent to media, including the Headliner News, that Eckersley had quit the campaign just short of election day.

Eckersley said he filed two complaints—one with the Department of Justice and one with the Federal Elections Committee.

To read more, visit: http://ccheadliner.com/news/article_3f8f1968-1f4f-11e0-91a1-001cc4c002e0.html

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