President Obama has nominated Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
John Kerry ran for president in 2004 and lost, and has been a controversial figure because of his anti-war activities after serving in the Navy in Vietnam. Kerry’s anti-war activities included meeting with a leading Vietnamese communist representative in 1970 in Paris while the U.S. government was engaged in the Paris Peace Talks with communist Vietnamese representatives.
Critics have pointed out that since at the time he met with the Vietnamese in 1970, Kerry was not serving in the U.S. State Department and was acting without the authority of the U.S., he may have actually committed a felony.
In testimony before a Senate committee in 1971, Kerry admitted “I realize that even my visits in Paris, … in a sense are on the borderline of private individuals negotiating, et cetera.” Commenting on Kerry’s 1971 admission, the Boston Globe wrote in 2004 “Kerry’s statement dealt with the question of whether he was trying to negotiate in Paris as a private citizen and was thus on that ‘borderline’ of what was allowable. A U.S. law forbids citizens from negotiating with foreign governments on matters such as peace treaties.”
The U.S. law mentioned by the Boston Globe is the Logan Act (18 USC § 953), which 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.” Per Wikipedia “Violation of the Logan Act is a felony.”