Did John Boehner Just Commit Treason?

It has been recently confirmed that John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before congress about Iran, in the spring. The move is a complete slap in the face to President Obama; it is also very possibly an act of treason.

Before that though, the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu, and the “Zionification” of the new GOP has to be known in order to understand the current situation.

Netanyahu and Obama have had a dicey relationship essentially since the Israeli Prime Minister was voted into office. Obama has spoken out publicly against Israel constructing settlements in occupied Palestine. A nine-month moratorium that halted new construction on Israeli settlements, that was requested from the White House ended in early 2010. Joe Biden lambasted Netanyahu over the matter. Later that year, U.S peace talks between Israel and Palestine failed miserably.

It turned out that 2011 was a pivotal year in the Netanyahu-Obama saga, cementing the two’s relationship from cool to downright icy. Unaware that a microphone was turned on during the G-20 summit in Cannes, France, the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy was heard saying that he “cannot stand” Netanyahu and called him a “liar.” To which Obama responded, “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day.” The Atlantic has a great article on the sentiments towards Netanyahu that have come out of the Whitehouse over the past few years.

It was at this point that Netanyahu seemed to be working against Obama in the upcoming 2012 election. Vox describes the events wonderfully reporting:

“… in 2011 Netanyahu started going a step further, and appeared to be working to actively remove Obama from power. During the 2012 election cycle, Netanyahu and his government were increasingly critical of Obama and supportive of Republicans, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, for whom he at times appeared to be actively campaigning. Netanyahu’s criticisms of Obama were so pointed that some of Obama’s opponents cut a campaign ad out of them. It became a joke within Israel that Netanyahu saw himself not as the leader of a sovereign country, but as the Republican senator from Israel.”

This was a major moment for the GOP, Democrats, and Zionists, that essentially sealed the fate for the GOP to become the new “party of Israel.” It was also in 2012 that Netanyahu demanded that Obama take a stand against Iran. This and other subsequent statements have demonstrated an over stepping of bounds in regards to Netanyahu’s role in influencing U.S foreign policy. Due to the amount of aid the U.S gives to Israel, Obama has played the role of the master, and Israel the dog. Netanyahu has started nipping at the hand that feeds him, with U.S Republicans coaxing the Prime Minister the whole time.

Now in 2015, the U.S is preparing for talks with Iran about their nuclear program. Obama has declared that he does not think that new sanctions against Iran will make any progress towards reaching a deal with them over their nuclear program. This is in stark contrast to the right wing’s generally held belief the U.S should bomb the f%#k out of Iran.

So now, Boehner has revealed that he has invited Netanyahu to speak to congress about what should be done with Iran. An Op-ed in Truth Out describes three possible scenarios where this could qualify as treason. Here are the two more likely scenarios.

Under the Logan Act that was:

“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…”

Alternatively, under the Section 441e of FEC law that:

“…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.”

The move to have Netanyahu speak to congress regarding Iran is a new extreme in the GOP’s plan to usurp Obama’s ability to govern. It also shows that Netanyahu is willing to play along; despite predictions it may be his undoing (if he is still in office, the Israeli elections are coming up soon). Whether or not any legal actions against Boehner come to fruition, he is asking the leader of a foreign government that has a primary concern to benefit Israel, not the United States. Perhaps, that is enough for the people of the United States to decide on their own that he is a traitor.

Featured Image Credit:By Gage Skidmore (Flickr: John Boehner) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons