Carol Platt Liebau: A Very Public First Lady

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Very Public First Lady

Hot blog buzz over at Sweetness and Light asserts that, if Hillary had actually engaged in the foreign policy activities her husband is now crediting to her, she'd be in violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from engaging in foreign affairs.

It does seem to be a tantalizing charge, of course. But remember back in the 90's when there was "sunshine law" litigation over the First Lady's health care task force? Justice Department lawyers argued, in fact, that Hillary was a public citizen, which would place her outside the reach of certain disclosure laws.

Luckily for the Clintons, the three judges who heard the case -- all Reagan appointees, mind you -- found that she was, in fact, a public employee for purposes of the law.

No doubt that's what the Clintons would argue again when it comes to Hillary and foreign policy.


Blogger LarryD said...

Logan Act
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.

Hilliary could claim she had Bill's permission (it might even be true), and that would be all that's needed. Presidents have sometimes used private individuals as special ambassadors, without giving them a government post.

No one seems to be to have ever enforced the Logan Act, anyway. Otherwise Pelosi would be in the clink for her trip to Syria, et al.

7:54 AM  

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