Congress has really outdone itself this time. On Monday, neoconservative Republicans in the Senate were apparently so eager to go to war with Iran that they broke a federal law known as the Logan Act in the process. The Logan Act has been around since 1799 and has remained mostly unchanged, created to keep rogue members of Congress from undermining foreign relations.
How did Senate Republicans violate the Logan Act? Well they did that by being war mongers. But more specifically, when 47 members of Congress signed onto a letter that was sent to Iranian officials in an attempt to undermine the peace deal with Iran, they clearly violated the act — and also all committed felonies. According to Cornell University, the act 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.
The President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate; but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it.
The Republicans, who so often talk of the Constitution almost as highly as they talk of their support for Israel, seem to have trampled over the document multiple times in as many weeks. You see, when they invited Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak to Congress, they were also in violation of the Logan Act then too. John Boehner is mostly at fault for the Netanyahu fiasco, though, so he’s the only member of the House that should prosecuted for that.
However, 47 members of the US Senate — all Republicans — have clearly violated the Logan Act, and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Three years in prison for 47 members of our war mongering Congress? I would support that. The real question is: will enough Americans stand up and carry out the laws that are written plain as day in the Constitution, or will we simply sit back and expect the government to punish itself?
President Obama, who himself has shown little to no respect for the Constitution, seems to have no interest in prosecuting the war mongering 47, so that’s up to us to carry out. A petition to charge the Senators has already racked up over 40,000 signatures overnight (UPDATE: the petition has now surpassed 100,000 signatures, which means the White House will have to respond to it).
However, Citizen’s arrest seems to be a more effective plan of action than petitioning. These 47 men committed felonies and should be charged just as any one of us regular folks would be when we commit a crime. Who should we arrest first? John McCain or Lindsey Graham?