Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Did Obama Violate the Logan Act?

Obama and the Logan Act: The Invisible Scandal By Paul Zannucci at Text of the Logan Act § 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). Ah, nothing like a major scandal about a presidential candidate to get the media swarming like killer bees, right? Apparently not if that Candidate is Barack Obama, who is clearly in violation of the above referenced law and subject to prosecution. He has tried on two separate occasions to delay the negotiations of troop withdrawals from Iraq in order to gain politically in the upcoming elections. And in case you were wondering, the Logan Act does apply to members of Congress: In United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp.(1936) , a case that often has been cited in Logan Act prosecutions, Justice Sutherland wrote in the majority opinion: “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.” Here is a rundown of the major pieces of the puzzle: Amir Taheri reports in the New York Post that Obama met with Iraqi officials and tried to stall an agreement to withdraw U.S. troops until after the election. The McCain camp immediately responded here, asking reasonable questions. Shortly thereafter the Obama camped nuanced the event. They claimed that Obama was merely interfering with negotiations regarding the Strategic Framework Agreement, which by my reading is still a violation of the Logan Act. Still, that places him as less of a hypocrite since the Strategic Framework Agreement does not concern bringing the troops home, but focuses on the long-term presence of military bases in Iraq. One problem is that it isn’t true. In fact, Obama is on the record prior to his trip to Iraq as contacting Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and arguing that he thought that “Congress should be involved in any negotiations regarding a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq. He suggested it may be better to wait until the next administration to negotiate such an agreement.” This was reported by NBC and can be tracked here. This earlier event not only contradicts the current Obama camp nuance of the scandal but is, in itself, a violation of the Logan Act. So where is the swarm of scandal-loving reporters? Alaska, maybe? Fact checking a McCain ad? Annointing Obama’s feet with oil? It’s safe to say those activities are taking a lot of their time, so I can understand that they haven’t gotten around to this yet. Searches on the websites of ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN turn up no stories on the issue at all, and The New York Times buries the story in a blog post critical of McCain and the economy. It is up to you. It’s not good enough that this is being discussed on blogs and conservative talk radio. This has to get out there, and the media will not push it, will not even mention it. We need a person to person, grassroots campaign. Send emails to your mailing list buddies and ask them to pass it on. You can copy and paste our article, with or without credit, and use it if you like, or search Hot Air or Stop the ACLU for different material. The National Review Online and many conservative blogs also are covering the story. It doesn’t matter how you do it. Just join the fight to get this information out there. About the Author: Born in Boston, Paul Zannucci lived and worked in the D.C. area for a time, but has spent most of his life in Tennessee, where he graduated from the University of Tennessee. Paul's political philosophy could best be described as eclectic, though mostly right of center. Read more from this author RELATED: Bring criminal charges against Obama–now! Rice in Baghdad: Security Agreement Drafted Shocking Revelations About Obama’s Iraq Trip : True To Form Obama Sunk by MSNBC? Should Democrats Drop Obama From Ticket?