How can voters speak with elected representatives about President Trump or Ukraine or China without being called “rude,” as Erik Mercer of Portland says he was when he tried to discuss foreign interference in U.S. elections with Sen. Susan Collins (Maine Sunday Telegram, Oct. 13, paid advertisement, Page A3)?

Is it “rude” to remind Sen. Collins – or any of our elected representatives – that U.S. law is concise and clear about such interference?

Title 52 of the U.S. Code, Chapter 301, Section 30121 covers a half-page and says that a request from a government official (like the president) to a foreign leader (like the president of Ukraine) or a foreign country (like China) for politically damaging information on a U.S. political rival (like Joe Biden) constitutes soliciting things of value from foreign nationals.

The U.S. Code states very simply and directly: “It shall be unlawful for … a person to solicit, accept or receive a contribution or donation (or ‘other thing of value,’ such as political dirt on opponents) from a … ‘foreign principal’ or … ‘an individual who is not a citizen of the United States.’ ”

Sen. Collins called the president’s public request that China investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden “completely inappropriate.” Sen. Collins, wouldn’t the word “unlawful” be more accurate?

I am being respectful and direct, and deliberately not being rude when I say this: Sen. Collins, show some guts. It’s not good for Maine, or democracy, or your legacy if you sit on the sidelines. Will you speak up – please?

David Critchfield

South Portland

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