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Congressman introduces legislation to repeal Logan Act

Congressman Guy Reschenthaler calls the Logan Act 'archaic' in new bill

May 8, 2020 12:58pm

Updated: May 8, 2020 2:34pm

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) on Friday introduced the TRAP Act, or "Time to Repeal an Archaic Policy Act of 2020," in an effort to repeal the Logan Act.

The Logan Act, which was enacted by the fifth U.S. Congress, outlaws “correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government . . . in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States.”

The act was invoked by when James Comey when he was the FBI director as the reason the agency was investigating the National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, whose case the Justice Department on Thursday recommended dropping. 

Some have pointed out that the act is almost never enforced, in no small part because the United States has disputes with every many other countries. The law's scant enforcement allows those in charge to weaponize it in bad faith when it is useful to them, critics argue.

Since 1799 when the law was passed, only two people have been prosecuted under it, in 1802 and 1852 – both were acquitted. Reschenthaler argues the rarely cited law was abused by political actors to go after Flynn and should now be permanently retired. 


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