On March 9th of this year, 47 US senators sent an open letter to the leadership of Iran. This letter can be read in it's entirety, with verifiable signatures, here: http://go.bloomberg.com/assets/content/uploads/sites/2/150309-Cotton-Open-Letter-to-Iranian-Leaders.pdf The trouble with this letter is that it is not only designed to undermine the diplomacy of our duly elected president, it is also a criminal violation of US Law. The Logan Act of 1799 is one of the underpinnings of the separation of powers in the US. In short, it states (in part):
"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". (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2010-title18/pdf/USCODE-2010-title18-partI-chap45-sec953.pdf)
In 2006 bill HR 6253, which was to substantially revise the Logan Act failed, and thus the original act, and the criminality of violating these measures remain in full effect to this day. This principle was tried by the supreme court in UNITED STATES v. CURTISS-WRIGHT EXPORT CORPORATION, 299 U.S. 304 (1936):
"Not only, as we have shown, is the federal power over external affairs in origin and essential character different from that over internal affairs, but participation in the exercise of the power is significantly limited. In this vast external realm, with its important, complicated, delicate and manifold problems, 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". (http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=CASE&court=US&vol=299&page=304)
"It is important to bear in mind that we are here dealing not alone with an authority vested in the President by an [299 U.S. 304, 320] exertion of legislative power, but with such an authority plus the very delicate, plenary and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relations-a power which does not require as a basis for its exercise an act of Congress, but which, of course, like every other governmental power, must be exercised in subordination to the applicable provisions of the Constitution. It is quite apparent that if, in the maintenance of our international relations, embarrassment-perhaps serious embarrassment-is to be avoided and success for our aims achieved, congressional legislation which is to be made effective through negotiation and inquiry within the international field must often accord to the President a degree of discretion and freedom from statutory restriction which would not be admissible were domestic affairs alone involved. Moreover, he, not Congress, has the better opportunity of knowing the conditions which prevail in foreign countries, and especially is this true in time of war." (http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=CASE&court=US&vol=299&page=304)
Iranian officials have seen the senator's letter for what it is, thanks to the US educated Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian Foreign Minister (http://en.mfa.ir/index.aspx?siteid=3&fkeyid=&siteid=3&fkeyid=&siteid=3&pageid=1997&newsview=330948). It should be noted that the man's PhD is in International Law and Policy from the University of Denver. The condescending tone of the letter was not lost on this man, who probably knows more about US and international law than the 47 senators who signed the letter combined. Just to put some icing on the cake, his PhD thesis is entitled "Self-defense in International Law and Policy", and is available here: http://www.worldcat.org/title/self-defense-in-international-law-and-policy/oclc/223874634.
The bottom line is that in their haste to harm efforts by the Obama administration for their own benefit and that of their political party, 47 US senators violated US criminal law, and by neither knowing their audience, US, or international law, these senators have made a laughing stock of this nation. Ironically, the primary occupation of most of these men prior to being elected to office was the legal profession. They should know better, and if they did, are guilty of criminal acts. If they didn't, they are still guilty, but it begs the question of why are they in a position to influence the laws of the land when they do not understand them? Either way, they should not walk free. If you agree, please consider signing this petition: