Friday, April 06, 2007

Syria, Pelosi and the Logan Act

A caller to Newt on the Limbaugh show reminded me of something I hadn't thought of since an old law school buddy of Michael's and mine had a "US out of El Salvador" bumper sticker on his car.

The Logan Act was enacted 200 years ago to criminalize dealings with foreign governments by unauthorized U.S. persons. It reads:

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.

I suppose we could argue that the Speaker of the House might have some implicit authority, but it would be the first time used since about ever. I suppose, too, we might argue that delivering an errant message from our strongest ally in the region was “in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States” or to defeat its “measures,” but just sitting down with the Iranian lapdog certainly lends a sheen to the Thugocracy behind the Lebanese assassination and the attacks on Israel last summer. It also sends a divided message from this nation at a time of war. Neither the White House nor the State Department granted her any authority and it is my understanding she met with Assad in spite of White House discouragement. Newt pointed out that this has never been used in Modern Times and I don't really encourage it here but Politics, Water's Edge, etc.... That used to be a tradition that both parties honored. Now, only one does.

I recall many Dems having to endure having their patriotism challenged during the 80s for getting cozy with the Sandinistas. As a matter of fact, I recall it was John Kerry and, I think, Tom Harkin who were at the forefront. All just as Ollie North was getting around the Boland Amendment and Reagan, Thatcher and John Paul were poking sticks into the Soviet carcass.

And wasn’t there mention during the last presidential campaign of Kerry meeting with some of the bad guys in Paris shortly after his discharge from his service in Viet Nam? I am too young to remember that but I think I recall some discussion in 2004.

Where are the Jacksonian (Scoop, that is) Dems when you need them? There is only one and he is now a Democratic Independent from Connecticut.

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