Is John Boehner a Traitor?

John Boehner may be a traitor.

On Wednesday, the Speaker of the House confirmed that he had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come speak to Congress, “on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life.”

The announcement just so happens to come as Republicans in Congress are pushing for new sanctions against Iran, which threaten current diplomatic negotiations with that country.

As of now, Netanyahu is expected to speak to a joint session of Congress in March, while he’s in the U.S. for the annual AIPAC conference. So, why is Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu such a big deal?

First off, it’s a HUGE violation of protocol and MASSIVELY disrespectful to President Obama and the authority of the executive branch. It is completely unprecedented for the Speaker of the House, or any member of Congress, to invite a foreign leader to come to the U.S. and speak to Congress without getting authorization and/or cooperation from the White House. As Guy Ziv, a professor at American University who has studied U.S.-Israeli relations told TPM, “It's unprecedented. It's hitting below the belt. It's taking partisanship to a whole new level.”

By inviting Netanyahu to speak to Congress without the authority of the executive branch, Speaker Boehner is badly blurring the lines of national sovereignty, and again massively disrespecting typical protocol. But, more importantly, he may be in violation of a number of laws, which may make him a traitor. So, let’s take a look at a few legal possibilities where the Speaker’s actions may be considered criminal.

First, you could make a case that by inviting Netanyahu to speak to Congress without authority from the executive branch, Speaker Boehner is committing an act of sedition. Sedition is defined as conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch. However, it would be hard to prove that by inviting Netanyahu to speak to Congress, Boehner is trying to incite Americans to rebel against our nation; he's just using a foreign leader to lobby for his own legislation. This is why a better case for Boehner's criminal conduct can be made under the Logan Act.

Established back in 1799, the Logan Act makes it illegal for unauthorized American citizens to negotiate with foreign governments. Violation of the act is a felony, and comes with a punishment of up to three years in prison.

In order to prosecute Boehner under the Logan Act, there would have to be sufficient proof that he was acting “without authority” when he asked Netanyahu to come and speak to Congress, and that "authority" isn't specified in the law, although at the time it was passed, it was clearly intended to be held in the hands of President John Adams, who was furious that members of Congress were talking to French politicians.

It’s also possible that Boehner is in violation of Federal Elections Commission (FEC) law. Section 441e of FEC law makes it illegal for, “a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation” from a foreign national. In other words, if Speaker Boehner were to accept campaign money from Netanyahu, or use the speech to help raise money for Republicans in any way, he would be guilty of violating FEC law. Somebody needs to look into this, particularly to see if the hands of any of the Republican billionaires who obsess on Israel issues are involved in this.

Section 441e also makes it illegal for “a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State or local election.” How is this speech not a thing of value to the Republicans?

The bottom-line here is that, by inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak to Congress, Speaker Boehner may have broken any number of laws, and the Department of Justice needs to investigate. And even if no criminal activity is found, we can’t forget how massively disrespectful this move by Boehner is.

Can you imagine Congress doing something like this to John Kennedy? Or even to George W. Bush? What if Nancy Pelosi had invited Saddam Hussein to address Congress back in 2002? Don't you think Bush would have tried to prosecute her? Or at least get her impeached?

So at the very least Speaker Boehner is massively disrespecting the executive branch. But, by blurring the lines of sovereignty, he may have also have fulfilled John Adams' worse dreams and, in the process, turned himself into a traitor.


oneworldatpeace's picture
oneworldatpeace 8 years 2 weeks ago

Sorry Thom! Republicans are NEVER GUILTY! Laws are for lesser beings that don't share the ideaology of never being wrong! No matter what your lieing eyes can tell you! But HOW CAN ANYONE DENY THAT ISRAEL IS RUNNING OUR MID-EASTERN FORIEGN POLICY! No freaking wonder Muslims hate us ! We're TOTALLY full of it!

johnbest's picture
johnbest 8 years 2 weeks ago

Remove this drunken fucker from office and hang his Fucking ass in the Rotunda for all to see.

emenyuk's picture
emenyuk 8 years 2 weeks ago

Thom. I agree that if a Democrat had done.this, Republicans would.over-react and call for all sorts of.ridiculous actions. But we are Democrats. We are better then that. I also agree that it was phenomenally disrespectful but what new for Boehner? But what.I find most.disturbing is how such a discussion gives rise to antisemitic comments. First not all Muslims hate us. Second, support of our.only true ally in the region is not why extremists hate us. And finally Netanyahu is not Israel. Nor does he necessarily reflect the views of the majority of Jews in that country or in this one

Raypc800 8 years 2 weeks ago

The GOP as a party has in the past years has past legislation knowing that it would harm the USA and Average Americans. These people are the true enemies of this countryand they practice "Domestic Terrorism" whenecver they can. Whether on the Federal,State or County level of Government. The GOP tries to destroy! Wake up people and end this GOP reighn of terrorism.

Chris_from_Phoenix 8 years 2 weeks ago

"Bibi the Butcher of Gaza" signs, or maybe a slide show presentation on that blank screen at the Capital might make the point.

Suze O's picture
Suze O 8 years 2 weeks ago

Obviously, another attempt to make sure Obama gets nothing out of this presidency except the bad reputation the Republicans are determined to give him. And by inviting Netenyahu, who has been stating the same warnings about Iran for at least the last 20 years, and has only a political opinion, (not one of knowledge, expertise, or any other factual information) regarding Iran's nuclear program, Boehner is making sure Congress and the American people are only hearing the side the Republicans want to be heard. Obviously, the war hawks in the GOP want another bloody interference with the goal of obtaining yet more oil.

What the American public will hear is a scare campaign to get us to support a new war in Iran, whether a shooting war or one of restrictions doesn't matter. What they will NEVER hear is that Iran's nuclear program was STARTED with the help of the US under the Atoms for Peace Program. After we overthrew Mossadeg and installed the brutal Shah as our puppet, we CONTINUED to supply the Shah with nuclear energy technology (notice I said "energy"), which we wanted Iran to use while we extracted the oil for use and profit on the part of the West. So, in Iran, it was "Nukes for Oil" before it was "Arms for Hostages." The Ayatollah ended the nuclear program when he came to power - considering such weapons "sinful". Iran has signed 3 treaties/conventions repudiating weapons of mass distruction (how many has Israel signed?) Iran still would like to depend more on nuclear ENERGY and be able to sell its crude oil on the world market. It cannot refine its own oil due to the deteriorated condition of its refineries (it was unable to get parts for repairs). For a long time now it has had to ship its crude out to be refined into gasoline elsewhere, then re-import it at a loss, then subsidize it so its citizens can afford it. This is, of course, ruining its economy. We would love to ruin Iran's economy to the point that the mullahs fall from power and we can access that oil ourselves, leaving little to maintain the needs of the Iranians. Of course, who will govern Iran once the mullahs are gone? Our hand-picked puppet? A dictator from an opposite faction? We have a very poor record of stabilizing countries once we ruin them. But the GOP is still on the empire-building path, and they couldn't care less.

Bonsai's picture
Bonsai 8 years 2 weeks ago

I doubt Boehner understands what a Dis this is to the Executive Branch, but that's not unusual when you look at how Conservatives have misinterpretted the Constitution and laws in general over the two plus centuries we have been a country.

Perhaps the DOJ should point some of the legalities out to him, and make some noise about suing him. I'm sure he'll understand that, after all, he's been threatening to sue the President from day one.

SteveS's picture
SteveS 8 years 2 weeks ago

He's probably a traitor, but he'll never be convicted. The BEST that can be said of him is that he's an oaf whose oafishness is compounded by his drunkennss.

stopgap's picture
stopgap 8 years 2 weeks ago

Considering all the blatant rightwing Republican criminality, election fraud, bank fraud and lying the nation into "Shock And Awe", etc., that Obama turned his back on when he first took office, I wouldn't expect to see him pursue justice on anything as technical as this.

However, I say let the Republicans trot this murdering, sadistic, lying bastard out in front of the American people as one of their heroes to follow in the footsteps of other great Republican heros like George Zimmerman, Timothy McVeigh, Cliven Bundy, Vladimir Putin and so on. Let Netanyahu become identified with the party of corporate greed and corruption and let the Republicans become branded with the mark of the king of mideast apartheid and stealing of another countries sovereign territory.

Who has done more to discredit the validity and rational for the Israeli state than Netanyahu? By all means bring him in front of the American people, this leader of the country in the mideast that secretly possesses more nuclear weapons than every other country in the mideast put together. Let him lecture the American people about the danger of Iran possessing nuclear weapons. Irony is lost and completely over the head of any Republican.

By all means, let the American people know what Israel has become and what Republicans really are.

ChristopehrCurrie's picture
ChristopehrCurrie 8 years 2 weeks ago

By inviting a yet-to-be indicted war criminal to speak to both houses of Congress in March, John Boehner has set himself and Netanyahu up to the be the infamous objects of a MASSIVE anti-Israeli-government rally in Washington DC at that time!

trueblue313's picture
trueblue313 8 years 2 weeks ago

I agree with JohnBest. Simple and to the point. Although there are many accurate and astute comments.

kilgore's picture
kilgore 8 years 2 weeks ago

reagan, or people in his still to be admin, negotiated with terrorists to keep the hostages until after runnife was sworn in

Laws like Logan won't be used

Now, their conspiring, during the 1st swearing in, to ruin a president is far more egregious than inviting another war monger to congress

RFord's picture
RFord 8 years 2 weeks ago

The grave threat is Israel stirring up trouble between The US and other middle eastern countries and Muslim factions. I don't like the idea of a Jewish country anyway because I believe in seperation of religion and government like our constitution calls for. When the UN was trying to figure out what to do with all of the displaced Jews after world war II we didn't want to help them by letting them in to the United States. The Un moved people out of their homes and off of their lands and put them on reservations called Gaza, The West Bank, and Golan Heights. What is right and just about that? Every since then the Jewish Israeli government has been chipping away at those reservations and ruling over the people there with an iron fist, wageing war and killing thousands of innocent civillians every several years and all they need to do to carry out this agenda is say they were provoked. Israel has no intention of ever making peace with the Palistinians or sharing the whole country with them although before the UN butted in it was largely the Palistinians country. Israeil's not going to be satisfied until they've killed or run off all of the Palistinians and have the whole country to themselves. Lets not forget Israeil once deliberately shot up and bombed a US ship, killing US servicemen to keep us from knowing what they were doing to the people of Gaza. Israeil is trying to do to the Palistinians what Hitler tried to do to the Jews. Why are we still friends with this country?

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 8 years 2 weeks ago

It would've been nice if somebody in congress had mustered the political courage to state what a grave threat Israel and United State is to world peace. Courage is rarely used as a descriptor for politician.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 2 weeks ago

Boehner's been treasonous forever - they didn't call it "Taliban insurgency" for nothing. Newt Gingrich said, "Oh, that's just what the opposition does". Opposition is fine but it has to be a loyal opposition, i.e., it can keep its opposition but it has to keep no less a concern for the well being of the country. Just because it didn't win the election they are not exempt from that duty as Americans and - even more - as American statesmen and public servants.

Instead, of course, they completely dispensed with the well being of the United States and even willfully harmed her continuously for 6 years - most recently - for the sake of their political ambitions. They don't care at all about the well being of the United States, only about the small minority of a peerage they belong to.

Nor do they believe in democracy. There are no greater enemies to the Enlightenment principles this country was founded upon as they seek to reverse the American Revolution and reestablish a feudal order.

Johnnie Dorman's picture
Johnnie Dorman 8 years 2 weeks ago

At the end of Obama's speech, he shook hands with Biden and Boehner. I thought at the time, "it sure must be hard for the president to shake that pig's hand/hoof."

Natan-"Yahu"? "Yahoo." LOL! No wonder the Rethugs like him.

RLTOWNSLEY's picture
RLTOWNSLEY 8 years 2 weeks ago

I wouldn't get too excited just yet Thom, we have two more years of the GOP in majority control of Congress and there will likely be numerous future opportunities to snare them when they are driven to the edge of corruption by their unbounded runaway hubris !

nora's picture
nora 8 years 2 weeks ago

Thanks for a very informative post on this, Thom. I am glad you are pointing out this situation, because BOEHNER's BEHAVIOR SHOULD NOT BE CONDONED AND THIS EVENT SHOULD BE CANCELLED AND NOT BE ALLOWED TO SET A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT!

My view on this comes out of my views about our sham of a two-party system and our nation's immoral past behavior toward Iran and the way we destroyed democracy there in the early 1950s when we orchestrated the overthrow of the duly elected Iranian president.

It seems to me that Obama would himself have invited Netenyahu if the Democratic Party had no need to preserve some differences between the two parties in order to pull off more election rigmarole and campaign hype. It's my view that both parties seek to preserve at least an appearance of differences between Reps and Dems, maintaining these differences in some way to make the public think there is a vast choice between the goals of these parties.

It seems likely controlling forces behind both parties' favor our government policies to destabilize and destroy the resource-rich and strategically located nations and are even participating in war-profiteering. (When was the last time Congress looked into war-profiteering, especially of government officials, including its own members? If it had, Diane Feinstein would be questioned alongside Dick Cheney, I would hope.)

The greed-crazed warmongers and war-profiteers must be prevented from getting their way and fomenting war against Iran. No to Netanyahu spreading his jingoism on the floor of Congress.

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