Petition to prosecute 47 GOP senators over open Iran letter reaches goal

The White House is required to respond to the petition, which demands prosecution of the 47 U.S. senators, who sent an open letter to Iran's leadership citing the Logan Act.
By Andrew V. Pestano  |  March 12, 2015 at 7:00 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- A petition asking to prosecute the 47 U.S. Republican senators, who sent a heavily criticized open letter to Iran's leadership, has reached the goal to require a White House response.

The petition was published on March 9 and reached more than 200,000 signatures in three days, well above the requirement of 100,000, which requires the White House to respond.

The petition cited the 1799 Logan Act, which can carry an imprisonment sentence for up to three years.

"At a time when the United States government is attempting to reach a potential nuclear agreement with the Iranian government, 47 Senators saw fit to instead issue a condescending letter to the Iranian government stating that any agreement brokered by our President would not be upheld once the president leaves office," the petition states. "This is a clear violation of federal law. In attempting to undermine our own nation, these 47 senators have committed treason."

The petition was created by someone with the initials of C.H. from Bogota, N.J.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ar., who is in his third month as a senator, made waves in Washington recently when he penned a letter to Iranian leaders warning any nuclear deal needs congressional approval to last beyond President Obama's term in office. The letter, signed by 47 GOP senators, enraged the White House and Democrats, who called it an attempt to undermine the negotiations.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said any action about the Logan Act would go through the Department of Justice as the White House awaits to deliver a formal response to the petition.

"For a determination like that, I'd refer you to the Department of Justice. It ultimately would be their responsibility to make that kind of determination," Earnest said. "I know that there's been a lot of speculation about this, but I'm not aware of any conversations about the Logan Act in its relation to this specific matter that has taken place here at the White House."

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