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. -The Logan Act
47 Republican Senators just sent a letter to the President of Iran. In it they said that Iran shouldn’t sign any treaty suggested by Barack Obama, because they’re going to do every thing they can to sabotage it.
First, I can’t see why they think that will be a convincing argument. “Don’t sign this treaty because we really, really want to make war against you.” It’s not very persuasive, is it?
Now, I’ve seen a lot of people on facebook (and I’ve been one of them) accusing these 47 Republicans of treason. Maybe that’s putting it a little bit strongly. It’s not as if they are actually selling weapons to the Iranians, as Oliver North did on behalf of Ronald Reagan while Jimmy Carter was president.
It’s not as if they conspired to pull off simultaneous terrorist acts in New York City and Washington, killing 3,000 people and galvanizing the American public behind totally unnecessary wars in the Middle East, as I’m fairly certain members of George W. Bush’s administration did.
Those acts were even more treasonous than this.
But it’s obviously a violation of the Logan act (see above) The Logan Act dates back to 1799, and was inspired by some guy named Logan, who went to France and was doing some private negotiating.
President Adams (2, not 6) was pissed.
Of course, Logan couldn’t actually be prosecuted under the Logan Act, because it wasn’t the law at the time he went. He even got himself elected to the Senate, and tried to have it repealed, with no luck. But, despite the fact that it’s never been repealed, it’s never resulted in a conviction, either.
Nonetheless, there it still is. Unauthorized personnel are not allowed to negotiate with foreign leaders behind the president’s back; punishable by 3 years in federal, pound-me-in-the-ass prison, and/or a fine. I’d be very much in favor of giving these 47 Senators both.