Friday, February 6, 2015

Let's Enforce the Logan Act

Bust of Brutus What do these people have in common?

Robert Hanssen, Robert Ford,
Benedict Arnold, Aldrich Ames
Brutus, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
Judas Iscariot, Mata Hari
Tokyo Rose, and John Boehner


Two weeks before national elections in Israel, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu will have an opportunity to stand before a joint session of the US Congress at the invitation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner.  There is one small problem here.

Speaker Boehner extended the invitation to the foreign leader without constitutional authority to do so, or permission from the White House. By law the President of the United States has sole authority to lead and conduct foreign policy.  When he or she engages in formulating treaties with foreign governments they are to seek the advice and consent of the Senate. The Constitution gives the House of Representatives no separate powers.
The Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 30 January 1799, currently codified at 18 U.S.C. § 953) is a United States federal law that forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. It was passed in 1799 and last amended in 1994. Violation of the Logan Act is a felony, punishable under federal law with imprisonment of up to three years.-- Wikipedia
The Logan Act was passed under the administration of President John Adams, during tension between the U.S. and France.  It is named after Dr. George Logan of Pennsylvania, a member of Congress, who in 1798 engaged in semi-negotiations with France during the Quasi-War. The Act was intended to prohibit United States citizens without authority from interfering in relations between the United States and foreign governments.  Here is text:
§ 953. Private correspondence with foreign governments. 
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply himself, or his agent, to any foreign government, or the agents thereof, for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.
1 Stat. 613, January 30, 1799, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 953 (2004)
The sedition that passes for governing on the Right is growing old.  It is time to remind elected officials much of what is going on lately is against the interests of the people they're elected to represent and against the law. 

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