The American Legislative Exchange Council
Thu 12th Sep 2013
"The sovereign integrity of the nation state, opposition to European federalism and a renewed respect for true subsidiarity," is the fifth of the 10 principles set out in the Prague Declaration, the constituent declaration of the European Conservatives and Reformists. 26 of the 56 MEPs in the ECR are British Conservatives, while a twenty-seventh is drawn from their Ulster Unionist allies.
Yet 12 ECR MEPs, seven of whom are British Conservatives, are members of the American Legislative Exchange Council. There is also a UKIPite who was elected as a Conservative, a Swedish Moderate who is therefore a member of the European People's Party, and a Flemish separatist.
ALEC, you see, claims to be "federalist" but seems to have adopted the European rather than the American definition of the word. It is a body of State Legislators who undertake to ensure that their respective states all adopt identical legislation drafted by that body's corporate backers.
A handful of Democrats does belong to this thing, raising serious questions about the limits of the diversity of the Democratic Party, the Republican Party having arrived at the opposite extreme, with club rights extended only to those who subscribe to each and all of dozens of shibboleths.
But all except two of the State Chairmen are Republicans, and those two hold the office jointly with members of the other party. What was once the GOP provides all of the "Public Co-Chairs" of ALEC's policy task forces that write the legislation, on which they enjoy no veto power, since that attaches only to the "Private Co-Chairs" who not merely come from, but explicitly represent, their own corporations.
The one for International Relations, which are constitutionally outside the province of State Legislatures but on which work is clearly being done, has as its veto-wielding Private Co-Chair a senior executive of Philip Morris International. To ALEC, the whole of foreign policy is subordinate to the interests of big tobacco.
ALEC contains one Australian Senator, as well as one Georgian MP and one Pakistani Assemblywoman, and possibly also the Alberta Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations.
All of its other "International Delegates" sit in the European Parliament. There to enact legislation written by giant American corporations, as if the European Parliament were an American State Legislature, with the United Kingdom having much the status of an American county.
Eight of those MEPs sit for the United Kingdom. Seven of them are members of the party led by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and all eight were elected for that party; the eighth is now a member of an entity which laughably calls itself "the United Kingdom Independence Party".
And no fewer than 12, four fifths of the total, belong to the Group, and include both its Chairman and the Secretary-General of its Europarty, the creation of which was supposed to have been David Cameron's triumph in the cause of the sovereign integrity of the nation state, opposition to European federalism and a renewed respect for true subsidiarity.