The Logan Act Explained

George Logan was a Pennsylvania state legislator and farmer. In 1798, many in the United States government were preparing for war with France. Logan, a quaker, sailed to France and met with French officials. Returning to America, Logan reported that the French government didn’t want to go to war with America.

Angered by Logan’s interference, Congress passed the Logan Act in 1899. The Logan Act is currently codified in 18 U.S. Code Section 953.

The Logan Act applies to any citizen of the United States and outlaws communication with a foreign government intending to influence an ongoing dispute between the United States and the foreign government. Violating the Logan Act can result in a three-year prison sentence.

As of this writing, no one has ever been successfully prosecuted for violating the Logan Act.

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