47 Senators We Need to Send Home

By  now, anyone who regularly reads this blog is aware of the letter sent to Iran by 47 Republican Senators.

Vice-President Biden’s response was–considering the provocation–temperate.

The Constitution vests authority for international relations in the President, as the Supreme Court has confirmed. Until we elected a President named Obama, there was also widespread political consensus that partisan squabbles stopped at the water’s edge.

The appalling conduct of Congressional Republicans–first, thumbing their nose at the President by circumventing protocol and inviting Netanyahu, and now, with an effort to sabotage delicate negotiations with Iran (and in so doing probably plunge the nation into yet another war)–is surely illegal, if not traitorous.

My friend Bill Groth is a lawyer who has researched the Logan Act, 18 U.S.C. § 953. He reports:

It was passed in 1799 and last amended in 1994. Here’s what it says: “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.”

In 1936 the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., 299 U.S. 304, noted that the President is the sole constitutional representative of the U.S. with regard to foreign nations.

Even people who detested and despised George W. Bush, who believed his decisions were taking the country down a dangerous, wrong-headed road, never stooped to this level. And while I never expected to agree with Dick Cheney about anything, here’s what he said about the respective roles of Congress and the Executive when the shoe was on the other foot:

[T]hroughout the Nation’s history, Congress has accepted substantial exercises of Presidential power — in the conduct of diplomacy, the use of force and covert action –[M]uch of what President Reagan did in his actions toward Nicaragua and Iran were constitutionally protected exercises of inherent Presidential powers. … [T]he power of the purse … is not and was never intended to be a license for Congress to usurp Presidential powers and functions.”

Elections are the remedy for Presidential decisions with which we disagree.

When elected lawmakers allow their hatred of a President to outweigh their duty to their country, they are unfit for public office.


  1. Why is this being talked about repeatedly by even Republicans, who heretofore have said and done nothing indicating any respect or support for our twice elected president or indicating an iota of understanding our Constitution and Amendments, but no one is doing anything. Talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words, can’t unring that bell(s), etc.; until someone in a position of authority in this government takes action – the privately owned House and Senate will continue their illegal, treasonous, stupid actions…pushing us closer and closer to war. And, they will probably get backing from those old men on SCOTUS if someone does grow the balls and begins legally to curtail their actions. Does the Logan Act mention, even in passing, who has the authority and/or responsibility to put a stop to this group of fanatics? If so; where the hell are they…sitting somewhere reading Hillary Clinton’s private E-mails?

  2. This is the same mind-set that Indiana republicans used to usurp Glenda Ritz’s authority following her election. The republicans know better than anyone, even the voters. They have never been able to wrap their minds around that fact that Barack Obama has proven that he has more popular appeal than John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, combined.

  3. Face it, Sheila, America is a wholly owned vassal state of Israel.

    Those 47 senators couldn’t find Iran on a map or even pronounce Persepolis. The Republicans are only agitating with Iran because it is Israel’s regional rival.

    Until we force AIPAC to register as a foreign agent and bar it from making campaign contributions, Israel and the Zionists will continue to ensure that almost every member of the elected branches will use the wealth and might of the United States for the benefit of Israel.

  4. Sheila et al, when discussing this with others, it has been thrown around that this is NOT the first time this has happened. They mention Pelosi, Ted Kennedy with Reagan and Russia, Clinton and his 1994 Congress….. I do not want to appear as if I find this so appalling as it is not “my side” and on the surface I don’t know the difference. Is it because with the advent of social media/technology it is simply more appalling because it so much more widespread in its publicity?

  5. Sheila wrote a post, yesterday, in which she yearned for the passing of America’s current phase of Evangelical zealotry. While I share her desire, American Evangelicalism is the greatest public relations tool Israel uses to employ the resources of the superpower for its benefit.

    In places in this country where American Evangelicalism is lowest, support for Israel is also at its lowest. Support for Israel is found in direct proportion to how religious (and how dumb) a part of America is.


    This group is bright enough to understand the color legend. In short, stay out of the red.

  6. I certainly hope that JMFM or someone fills us in on more than rumors about prior violations of the Logan Act.

    The question about the process for holding Congressional Members accountable for breaking the laws created by their predecessors is a good one. Do the same cops chase those bad guys as chase down those who blatently walk down the centers of streets in Ferguson, Mo?

    It’s clear the the Great Oligarchy Plot is quite flexible when it comes to our Constitution. Based on my email account alone they have big plans to change it whenever they can. In fact a popular meme is changing it to hold Congress more accountable for following the laws they create. This would be a great time to roll out that barrel and blast away at about 47 of them.

    Of course we the people have our means too. Why not just never elect another Republican for any office? Problem solved.

  7. Former Gopper. There’s the “house” kind and the “field” kind. That explains Carson vs Obama.

  8. The Republicans in Congress have me almost speechless these days. I feel like I’m caught in a horror movie

    I half jokingly mentioned to a friend this morning that maybe we crossed the mythical River Styx and are caught in the underworld. It certainly feels like it.

  9. I think that David’s point is that the 47 Republicans claimed to represent all of Congress, and by implication, the country, us, vs Kerry’s acts before becoming a Congressman or as part of his official duties later as a Congressman.

    Congressmen flock overseas all of the time to investigate this or that. Nobody regards them as negotiating anything with foreign powers. In fact some regard them as primarily vacations from the pressure of the 100 days per year or so of work we require of them.

    The Republicans have managed to screw up forever the world’s understanding of how we the people are represented to the world.

  10. Kerry was trying to influence, as a citizen and as an elected official, a foreign government in relation to disputes with the United States with out him being given the authority to do so.

    I disagree with what the Senators did.

    My point is that in her post she says they are unfit for office. I ask then is Kerry unfit for office for what he has done in the past? I am certain she will not agree because she was on the same side of the issues Kerry.

    Lets stop with the fake outrage on this issue. These senator’s, other congressional leader’s and the President’s actions on a number of issues have hurt this nation much more than this letter.

  11. Despite the truth and insight in the.previous contributions, the age of miracles is not yet over. Our senator, who almost always falls in line to do what he is told, Dan Coats, did not sign the letter. Whatever the reason, he stumbled onto the truth and did the right thing. I was happy to send him a note, thanking him for his good judgment.

  12. No fake outrage here. What those senators did was clearly unlawful and is arguably treason. What they have done – shouting “liar” in the middle of the state of the union speech, going around the President to invite a foreign leader to speak, and this last unlawful act – is not politics, it’s mutiny. If they were on a ship a couple of hundred years ago, they would have been keelhauled.

  13. There’s another famous collection of mostly Republicans pledging their fealty to things that can be absolutely counter to the best interests of we, the people of America.

    The infamous American for Tax Reform Pledge by Grover Norquist.

    From Wikipedia: “In the 112th Congress serving in years 2011 and 2012, all but six of the 242 Republican members plus two Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, for a total of 238 – a majority of that body – as well as all but seven of the 47 Republican members plus one Democratic member of the U.S. Senate, for a total of 41, have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[9] All except 13 sitting Republicans have signed the pledge, while three Democrats have signed it (outgoing-Sen. Ben Nelson (NE) and House members Robert Andrews (NJ) and Ben Chandler (KY)).[9]”

    When you sign your name as being a Congressman with loyalties higher than your pledged service to America, you deserve to be noticed. In the past you have been noticed in the sights of a firing squad. Now we excuse treason in the same way and for the same reasons that we forgive those who have stood in the way of sane action to avoid the overwhelming cost of climate change by allowing them to plead “I’m not a scientist”.

  14. And how did that Vietnam War work out for you, David? I bet you watch Fox News, too. Nothing Kerry did even comes close to Tom Cotton’s antics.

  15. One thing gets left out of these discussions. It obviously went over Mr Netanyahu’s head and the 47 Congressman who now apparently report to him rather than our President.

    Nobody wants a nuclear armed Iran. In fact, most of us are pretty sure the world would be better off with no nuclear weapons (or anthropogenic global warming).

    The issue is how not if. I suspect that if it was up to Mr. Netanyahu he’d solve the problem by dropping one on Iran thus kicking the can of Middle East political instability to the next several of his successors.

    It will take months to reveal the damage done by these yahoos, be they Netyan or Congressional, to the diplomatic process than the world was so hopeful about.

    It will take years to determine the impact in our credibility.

  16. Is the letter all that it cost Boehner and co to get Netanyahu to come to their ball and give his speech? Or are there other “favors” in the bargain?

  17. David, these 47 Senators represented themselves on the world stage as the true seat of U.S. Government power. In doing so, they used their office and their seats to undermine the President to a foreign nation.

    Americans are always in foreign nations trying to exert some form of influence. Never, however, do they go abroad representing themselves as the true head of the United States.

    Each signer of this letter should be at least censured.

  18. Those 47 fools used their seats to undermine President Obama in more than one country with their stunt. Unless something is done to stop them; he will continue to be undermined with all those world leaders he is negotiating nuclear issues with. This country looked foolish enough in our own eyes and in the eyes of the world with Boehner’s inviation to the Israeli Foreign Minister to speak before OUR Congress as if it were a beer party on his patio.

  19. Hi Pete, I posted the links about the arguments I am getting and the examples they use, but it has been awaiting moderation now for over 24 hours so I am not sure how to proceed.

  20. A number of U.S. senators, including then-Senator and now Secretary of State John Kerry, have contacted unfriendly governments, in opposition to the policies of the White House at the time.

    In 1985, for example, then-freshman Senator John Kerry traveled to Nicaragua for a friendly get-together with the Sandinista president, Daniel Ortega. The position of the Reagan administration was to support the opposition Contras. Kerry wasn’t much interested in the administration’s position. Upon his return to the United States, Kerry met with President Reagan to convey a message from Ortega. Reagan “wasn’t thrilled,” Kerry later told the New York Times. This week, it’s Kerry’s turn to be less than thrilled.

    In late 2006, Democratic senators Kerry, Chris Dodd (Connecticut), and Bill Nelson (Florida), as well as one Republican who later became a Democrat, Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania), traveled to Damascus. That is, at a time when the policy of the Bush administration was to isolate the Bashar Assad regime because of its aggression in Lebanon support for terrorism, the senators decided to show their support for renewed U.S. relations with Syria.

    They also had nice things to say about Syria’s dictator. “I feel quite confident in saying this was a conversation worth having and that the administration ought to pursue it,” Kerry declared.

    “In 36 years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance” in which senators intervened in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy,” Vice President Joe Biden declared, outraged by the “open letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” signed by 47 Republican senators. How short is Uncle Joe’s memory? And he wants to be President. LOL

  21. Did the other Senators in those contacts state outright that anything President Obama agreed to and signed could be overturned within two years so the agreement couldn’t be trusted?

  22. Of course my comment should ask if they demeaned sitting presidents as this 47 did openly against President Obama. I apologize for the oversight but I’m more than fed up with all talk and no action in this, the 2nd instance of Republicans overstepping boundaries and putting this entire country in a bad light. If no action was taken against past senators, was it because they did not talk against this country or the president during questionable contact? Was the contact against the Logan Act? You described one instance as a “friendly get-together” and the other as a “conversation”. Totally different than a group of 47 Senators openly speaking to an enemy foreign government to warn them against the United States.

  23. Jackass extraordinaire, Marlin Stutzman is boasting that “Stutzman Backs Israel,” as if he simply presumes it’s his job to use American power and treasure for the benefit of a foreign country.

    Here’s the latest point of pride from the evangelical nitwit’s office:


    Evangelicals are part of a made-up silly church that is not part of real Christianity.

    If you support Israel, Stutzman, you’re not an American.

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