Did John Boehner Violate the Law by Inviting Netanyahu to Address Congress?

House GOP leader John Boehner (OH) made headlines in multiple countries with the announcement that he had asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress just weeks before the Israeli election.

President Obama and Secretary Kerry have already announced they will not meet with him, as it is a breach of diplomatic protocol for an Israeli leader to visit Congress without first talking to the president. But Boehner may have run afoul of more than protocol – he may have also violated the law itself.

The Logan Act, passed in 1799 and amended in 1904, states that no citizen of the United States can act on behalf of the United States government without its explicit approval. Boehner, as a Member of Congress, is not authorized to conduct foreign policy dealings that are explicitly the purview of the executive branch.

While there have been no prosecutions under this law, the right was insistent that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) violated in when she went to visit with Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2007.Although Boehner did not make that charge against Pelosi, he did say the only reason she carried out the visit was to “embarrass the president.”

If the right thought Pelosi visiting the Syrian president in Syria was a possible violation of the law, how can it justify Boehner explicitly coordinating with a foreign leader to address Congress to change U.S. policy?

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.