Either Rick Perry doesn’t know the meaning of treason or doesn’t care. Either way, already it’s been less than 1 week since he made his announcement for presidential candidate and he’s making blunders. Perry was quoted as saying that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would be committing a “treasonous” act by printing more money to boost the economy. President Obama gave Mr. Perry some slack citing it was early in the campaign. Members of both parties were not as kind. Tony Fratto, a Republican and former Treasury Department official under former President George W. Bush called the remark “inappropriate and unpresidential.”
Does Perry understand the crime of treason? His remarks reminded me of a child who says things while using the words incorrectly. But, since Perry is no child, I’ll just chalk it up to ignorance of the definition of the term “treason”. To compare Bernanke’s work as Federal Reserve Chairman to an act of treason trivializes the act and crime of treason. It also further helps to incite an already ignitable Tea Party faction who have proven in the past to be devoid of understanding the Constitution and law. A presidential candidate should be more familiar with the US Constitution.
So to set the record straight, here’s the definition of treason. Simply put, the US Constitution, Article III says treason is the offense of attempting to overthrow our country by giving aid to our enemies. It is punishable by death. Treason is reserved for those who commit the most heinous non-allegiance crimes against our country. It is usually reserved for spies who trade secrets with other countries against us.
Mr. Bernanke will not be guilty of treason if he “prints” more money to boost the economy. But, Mr. Perry could be guilty of slander if he continues to falsely and wrongly accuse persons of committing the most heinous crime against our country. Perhaps, in the future, Mr. Perry should carry a copy of the Constitution and read it before citing from it.
Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a legal and political commentator who is frequently seen in the media. She also contributes to the Huffington Post.