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The Shadow 'Democracy'

(with special thanks to soiniciulacht)

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'Pursuant to Article 4 (2) (d) of the Code of Conduct I declare my membership of any boards or committees of any companies, non-governmental organisations, associations or other bodies established in law or any other relevant outside activity that I undertake whether remunerated or unremunerated '

..... the records of Mr Ashworth, Mr Callanan, Mr Deva, Mr Hannan, Mr Helmer, Mr Kamall and Mr Sturdy. None of them appear to have declared their membership of ALEC. This being the case I wish to register a formal complaint about their failure to meet their obligations. Given that it seems to be a coordinated decision rather than an oversight it would suggest that the activities in which they have engaged may be in breach of other obligations as the purpose of their membership was both party political and international and involved the presence of corporations currently engaged in discussions with the EU over topics as diverse as Internet Piracy and the legalisation of smokeless tobacco.

from a formal Complaint made to the EU in June 2012


House of Commons investigates lobbying - Public Administration Select Committee First Report 2008-9
Cameron on lobbying - Ethics & Accountability in Government
The Transparency Agenda - Cameron introduces the Government's Transparency Agenda
The Ministers' Code - The Principles of Public Life
The 'independence' of the Independent Adviser on Ministers Interests - Public Administration Select Committee 22nd Report March 2012
MPs clash with independent body overseeing expenses payments
The Problem
Liam Fox
Criminal arrogance - of course there was no proper investigation you're mistaking the UK for a democracy
From an expenses claim - to a 'fake' degree course and a £12,000 fee
The Kazakh Connection - Heaton-Harris talking to the Prime Minister during an oil conference?
Education as Money Laundering
The Fake Education Industry - money laundering for lobbyists and politicians on the take
The Young Britons' Foundation - importing corrupt practices via our schools and colleges with Hannan at the helm
The US Opposition to Corrupt lobbying practices

The House of Commons Investigates the Lobbyists
More recently, David Cameron, current Prime Minister of the UK, has recognised that lobbying was getting out of hand. In a major speech about the issue in February 2010, just 3 months before the General Election, he said this:


Now we all know that expenses has dominated politics for the last year. But if anyone thinks that cleaning up politics means dealing with this alone and then forgetting about it, they are wrong. Because there is another big issue that we can no longer ignore.

It is the next big scandal waiting to happen. It’s an issue that crosses party lines and has tainted our politics for too long, an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money.

I’m talking about lobbying – and we all know how it works. The lunches, the hospitality, the quiet word in your ear, the ex-ministers and ex-advisors for hire, helping big business find the right way to get its way. In this party, we believe in competition, not cronyism. We believe in market economics, not crony capitalism. So we must be the party that sorts all this out.

Now, I want to be clear: it’s not just big business that gets involved in lobbying. Charities and other organisations, including trade unions, do it too. What’s more, when it's open and transparent, when people know who is meeting who, for what reason and with what outcome, lobbying is perfectly reasonable.

It’s important that businesses, charities and other organisations feel they can make sure their voice is heard. And indeed, lobbying often makes for better, more workable, legislation. But I believe that it is increasingly clear that lobbying in this country is getting out of control.

Today it is a £2 billion industry that has a huge presence in Parliament. The Hansard Society has estimated that some MPs are approached over one hundred times a week by lobbyists. Much of the time this happens covertly.

We don’t know who is meeting whom. We don’t know whether any favours are being exchanged. We don’t know which outside interests are wielding unhealthy influence. This isn’t a minor issue with minor consequences. Commercial interests - not to mention government contracts - worth hundreds of billions of pounds are potentially at stake.

I believe that secret corporate lobbying, like the expenses scandal, goes to the heart of why people are so fed up with politics. It arouses people’s worst fears and suspicions about how our political system works, with money buying power, power fishing for money and a cosy club at the top making decisions in their own interest.

We can’t go on like this. I believe it’s time we shone the light of transparency on lobbying in our country and forced our politics to come clean about who is buying power and influence.

Politics should belong to people, not big business or big unions, and we need to sort this out. So if we win the election, we will take a lead on this issue by making sure that ex-ministers are not allowed to use their contacts and knowledge - gained while being paid by the public to serve the public - for their own private gain.

Today, the guidelines state that former ministers shouldn't lobby government for at least twelve months after leaving office. We will start by doubling that to two years.

But there's another problem. Those guidelines are simply that: guidance issued to ex-ministers by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, explaining what kind of jobs they can take up. Today, ex-Ministers can ignore this advice without sanction.

So we will rewrite the Ministerial Code to make clear that anyone who ignores the advice of the Committee will be forced to give up some or all of their Ministerial pension. Dealing with the lobbying issue may be painful, but it needs to happen and because we are from a new generation at ease with openness and accountability, because we believe in social responsibility not state control, we will clean things up.

So that is the choice the country faces. Five more years of Gordon Brown blocking reform, whether it's money from big business or money from big unions. Or reform to clean up lobbying from a new Conservative government committed to transparency and accountability.

Transparency 1
Transparency 2

Unfortunately even the words of Prime Ministers, and especially this one, can no longer be taken on trust so we shall look below at the perniciousness of right-wing lobbying and why Mr Cameron thinks it's the next big scandal waiting to break. Cameron did make some attempts to clean up one or two issues but on lobbying he has abjectly failed as we shall see when we compare the reality to the rhetoric.

In a speech,26 May 2009, setting out his vision for the reform of the British political system Cameron said:

' ...when it comes to the things we ask from politics, government and the state – there is a sense of power and control draining away; having to take what you’re given, with someone else pulling the strings.
And then when people see MPs caught cheating but still clinging on…
…bankers reaping their bonuses despite breaking the economy…
…and bureaucrats whose incompetence is never punished…
…they see a world that is built to benefit powerful elites, and they feel a terrible but impotent anger.....'

later in the same speech

A Conservative Government will put all national spending over £25,000 online for everyone to see, so citizens can hold the Government to account for how their tax money is being spent.
And we will extend this principle of transparency to every nook and cranny of politics and public life because it is one of the quickest and easiest ways to transfer power to the powerless and prevent waste, exploitation and abuse.
That’s why, for example, all our Conservative candidates for the European Parliament have signed a pledge setting out new standards of transparency and ethical behaviour.
Every Conservative MEP elected next week will publish online a breakdown of all office costs, all travel, names of each member of staff they employ, and details of all meetings with businesses, lobbyists and other interest groups.

as we shall this was the same old same old.

Cameron Introducing his Transparency Agenda (November 2010)

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomes the announcement of the publication of all central Government spend over 25K. - Uploaded by on Nov 18, 2010

The Ministerial Code

Upon coming to power Cameron rewrote the Ministerial Code which covers the behaviour or members of the Executive:

We must be different in how we think and how we behave. We must be different from what has gone before us. Careful with public money. Transparent about what we do and how we do it. Determined to act in the national interest, above improper influence.

The Seven Principles of Public Life


Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits
for themselves, their family, or their friends.


Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or
other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to
influence them in the performance of their official duties.


In carrying out public business, including making public appointments,
awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits,
holders of public office should make choices on merit.


Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to
the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate
to their office.


Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the
decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their
decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly


Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating
to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a
way that protects the public interest.


Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by
leadership and example.

Ministerial propriety is, theoretically at least, upheld by the Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests and overall scrutiny of public officials is part of the remit of the Public Administration Committee (PASC)  Extracts from their 22nd report are illuminating:

Public Administration Committee - Twenty-Second Report

ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14 March 2012. 

The person referred to in the Ministerial Code as the 'independent adviser on Ministers' interests' is responsible for investigating, at the request of the Prime Minister, alleged breaches of the Code. We considered the role and remit of this post, and have recommended changes to the role to enable the adviser to carry out short, preliminary investigations and also to instigate his own investigations. Such changes would help prevent a recurrence of the events preceding the resignation of the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox as Secretary of State for Defence in October 2011, when the independent adviser on Ministers' interests was not called upon to investigate the breach of the Code.[we note with interest the procedure adopted by Cameron when dealing, or failing to deal with, Jeremy Hunt now pomoted to Health Minister]

2  Lessons from Fox-Werritty

20. We are concerned that civil servants did not act or give formal guidance regarding the meetings between Adam Werritty and Liam Fox in the 18 months between May 2010 and October 2011. We recommend that the Civil Service Code or procedure in the Cabinet Manual be clarified to ensure that officials are clear about their obligation to advise Ministers on matters relating to the Ministerial Code and how to act when such matters remain unresolved.

30. We accept that, following a ministerial resignation, the kind of investigation that might be appropriate would differ substantially from an investigation carried out while a Minister was still in office; and in many cases it would not be appropriate at all. The resignation of a Minister should not, however, preclude altogether some form of independent investigation when further examination of the facts would be in the public interest.

35. It is understandable that the Government in general and the Cabinet Secretary in particular would have wanted to avoid a lengthy investigation into a case of great political and personal sensitivity where a speedier and generally acceptable form of resolution was available. The Cabinet Secretary could well have believed, reasonably if perhaps wrongly, that to pass the case formally over to the independent adviser would have required such a lengthy investigation.

36. What we find less reasonable is that the independent adviser was apparently cut out of the loop altogether. The level of media and public interest in this case should have made the involvement of the independent adviser, more, not less important. He should at least have been consulted.

44. As PASC recommended in the last Parliament, we again recommend that the independent adviser should be empowered to instigate his own investigations. The Prime Minister could do this on his own initiative, without any need for legislation, but placing the post on a statutory footing would be preferable.

47. We believe there is a strong case for more structured co-ordination of the work of the various regulators of propriety in public life and will consider in our future work how this might best be achieved. 

3. The Prime Minister's adviser on Ministers' interests: independent or not?

58. The title given to the role we have been considering is the 'independent adviser on Ministers' interests', but the nature of this independence must be in doubt, since:

  • the post is in the Prime Minister's gift;
  • the appointment by a closed recruitment process took place without the House or the public even being informed that the previous incumbent had retired or that a new appointment had been made; and
  • the new appointee himself had only just retired from a senior role at the heart of Government.

59. The title of the role implies that the independence of the role is a key objective. PASC in the last Parliament recommended a "healthy distance" between the independent adviser on Ministers' interests and the Cabinet Office, and called for the holder to be appointed through a transparent open competition and subject to a pre-appointment hearing by a parliamentary select committee. We view the implementation of these recommendations as essential if this post is to be genuinely 'independent' and to inspire public confidence in the enforcement of the Ministerial Code.

60. For the role to be independent, the appointment process was flawed, and so, unfortunately, was the choice of individual to fill that post. Any successful candidate for a post requiring independence from Government must be able to demonstrate that independence. Sir Alex Allan, as a recently retired senior civil servant, was therefore never likely to be an appropriate choice, and his evidence to us did nothing to convince us otherwise. In fairness, it is unlikely that many retiring civil servants will have had the opportunity to demonstrate the necessary independence from government in their career to date.
To illustrate the atitude of legislators to the oversight of independent bodies we provide this article on their interaction with the body charged with cleaning up after the expenses scandal.

Tax inspectors clash with MPs over expenses

HM Revenue and Customs is embroiled in a dispute with the expenses watchdog, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which is defending the right of MPs to employ a professional to fill in expenses forms and tax returns for their offices and insisting that the cost – up to £5,000 a year for each MP – should be tax deductible.

The row has emerged in a cache of emails between the two bodies disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act. They show that in July 2011, an HMRC official whose name has been redacted wrote to Ipsa seeking clarification over the right of MPs to claim money for accountancy fees.

An Ipsa official replied, confirming that MPs were allowed to claim the cost of accountants: “MPs can claim for bought-in services (out of their staffing budget) and professional services (out of their office costs expenditure budget) depending on the nature of their work.”

This response did not satisfy the tax official, who challenged the decision and said it would effect the tax position of MPs. “We are concerned that these costs are personal rather than wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the purposes of the member’s parliamentary function. This will obviously have an impact on the tax position,” the tax official wrote.

Days later, the Ipsa official replied, insisting that accountants were an allowable expense as long as the work being claimed for was for MPs’ parliamentary expenses and not for any other parliamentary business. “This is not different than a member of staff submitting their expenses – it’s a paid-for service and permissible under the scheme,” the Ipsa official insisted.

The correspondence became increasingly tetchy. Days later, the tax official wrote back: “Ipsa appears to be making tax free reimbursements for these expenses … Even allowing for the unique position of MPs, it would be difficult to see how such an expense is necessarily incurred in the performance of their duties.”

By September, senior officials became involved in the row. John Sills, the director of policy at Ipsa, wrote a letter to a senior tax official claiming that MPs have the right to claim money for legal advice or accountancy advice “where it is necessary for MPs to carry out their parliamentary functions similar to services required by small businesses. We understand that the relevant dispensations which have been granted therefore cover these services,” he said.

An HMRC customer relationship manager replied: “Such expenses will not qualify for a deduction under section 336 ITEPA [Income Tax Earnings and Pensions Act 2003] as they are not incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of employment.”

An Ipsa official confirmed that the dispute has not been resolved.

A spokesman for Revenue and Customs said: “We can’t comment on individual cases but it’s well understood that the costs of completing a personal tax return are not tax deductible. This applies across the board.”

The documents also show that Ipsa has been using taxpayers’ money to pay for the personal tax obligations of MPs on a number of items where tax officials have refused to offer a dispensation.

Ipsa pays tax on behalf of MPs for hospitality, food and drink consumed off the parliamentary estate before 7.30pm, taxi payments home after late sittings before 1am and insurance payments – all areas where tax officials have refused to grant dispensation to MPs. The watchdog is negotiating with Revenue officials over “reward and recognition payments” to be made to staff for good work.

The watchdog was established by parliament in 2009 after the controversy over House of Commons expenses but has faced criticism from MPs for failing to advise on or explain the new regime.

A spokesman for Ipsa said MPs cannot claim for their personal tax affairs and can only claim for business costs.

“An important principle of the scheme is that they can only claim for costs directly associated with their job of being an MP. Our view is that we will only reimburse money for costs that are wholly connected to being an MP. Where HMRC does not apply a dispensation, we pay the tax,” he said.

The Lobbying Problem Laid Bare

The American Legislative Exchange Council currently describes itself thus:

The American Legislative Exchange Council works to advance the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism at the state level through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public

In reality it is an organisation in which politicians from the USA and other countries, most notably the UK, sell their political influence. It is a lobbying group on a huge scale and the policy proposals that it produces have affected the lives of billions of people around the globe.

Old members
Showing Liam Fox as being a member; his name was removed in late 2011 meaning he was a member of this organisation whilst Secretary of State for Defence!

 Current membership (non-US members) with no sign now of Liam Fox.

ALEC Membership Requirements

In accordance with the bylaws of ALEC, full membership shall be open to persons dedicated to the preservation of individual liberty, basic American values and institutions, productive free enterprise and limited representative government, who support the purposes of ALEC, and who serve, or formerly served as members of a state or territorial legislature, the United States Congress or similar bodies outside the United States.

990 membership
 ALEC by-laws highlighted

How is this US organisation affecting the UK's political and democratic institutions?

The ALEC is an extremely powerful organisation

Showing the attendance of the CEO of AT&T and a then potential US Presidential candidate (San Diego, August 2010)
Active Participants
 Showing that the UK Members of ALEC are active members not passive observers.
plain packs
 Evidence that ALEC sees itself as having the right to carry out its activities around the world.

Is there any evidence that these activities are being acted upon by the UK members back in the UK and/or EU?
EU Tobacco subsidy
 It's hard to disagree with the health argument but is that really the motivation behind Mr Ashworth's intervention?

So we have a PM who has stated that lobbying is a threat to the political establishment in the UK; who has attacked opponents for not bringing it under control; has brought in a 'Transparency Agenda' which includes 'Openness' 'Honesty' and 'Accountability'. How is this going?

UK MEP's and MP's in ALEC

All MEP's are required to sign up to a Code of Conduct which includes:

Article 1
Guiding principles
In exercising their duties, Members of the European Parliament:
(a) are guided by and observe the following general principles of conduct: disinterest, integrity, openness, diligence, honesty, accountability and respect for Parliament’s reputation,

Article 3
Conflicts of interest

Members shall disclose, before speaking or voting in plenary or in one of Parliament’s bodies, or if proposed as a rapporteur, any actual or potential conflict of interest in relation to the matter under consideration,

Article 4
Declaration by Members

1. For reasons of transparency, Members of the European Parliament shall be personally responsible for submitting a declaration of financial interests to the President by the end of the first part-session after elections to the European Parliament (or within 30 days of taking up office with the Parliament in the course of a parliamentary term),

2. The declaration of financial interests shall contain the following information, which shall be provided in a precise manner:
(a) the Member’s occupation(s) during the three-year period before he or she took up office with the Parliament, and his or her membership during that period of any boards or committees of companies, nongovernmental organisations, associations or other bodies established in law,
(b) any salary which the Member receives for the exercise of a mandate in another parliament,
(d) membership of any boards or committees of any companies, nongovernmental organisations, associations or other bodies established in law, or any other relevant outside activity that the Member undertakes, whether the membership or activity in question is remunerated or unremunerated,

Given ALEC's statement on the raison d'etre of their Task Forces one could reasonably expect that membership of such would be included in such a declaration as a matter of course.
ALEC Task Force policy statement
 ALEC Task Forces' justification
How have the UK ALEC members acted? Let's take theMEPs in alphabetical order : (all declarations current as of Sept 1 2102 unless otherwise stated)

Richard Ashworth  MEP – Leader Conservative Group

Member -

Committee on Budgets
Delegation for relations with Australia and New Zealand

Substitute -

Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

register of interests
Current Declaration
ashworth 2007
ashworth 2007
In 2007 it was seemingly alright to mention ALEC on the register.

Martin Callanan MEP – Chairman of the European Conservatives

Member -

Conference of Presidents
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

Substitute -

Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

register of interests
 Register Entry current until 30 September 2012
Callanan 2006
callanan 2006
Register Entry of Jan 2007

On June 25 Mr Callanan declared his democratic ideals in an article in Conservative Home entitled ‘ Planet European Parliament, billions of miles from reality’

The European Parliament increasingly resembles the mirror universe from Alice Through the Looking Glass

Not a surprising conclusion; we don’t even know if some MEP’s are representing England or the USA, even those who can write, with such conviction, the following:

The European Parliament is supposed to represent the people in the EU. By giving it more powers, it was thought that the EU would gain more democratic legitimacy. Of course, we always argued that you cannot have a democracy without a demos, which does not exist at the European level. Which is why, every day, the European Parliament becomes a little bit more dogmatic, a little bit more ideological, and a great deal more out of touch with the people.


2012 October register of interests
october 2012 register of interests

Niranjan Deva MEP

Vice-Chair  Committee on Development

Member -

Subcommittee on Human Rights
Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia

Substitute -

Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

Deva is one of the parliament’s most active MEPs in the promotion of cooperation agreements, democratic values,  good governance and human rights in developing countries -  2011 Winners, MEP of the Year Awards

 EU parliament president under fire over ‘breach’ of rules of procedure

Deva raised the issue as a “point of order” before parliamentary votes on Thursday, saying Schulz had broken the “rules of this house”.

He demanded Schulz gives an undertaking to comply with the rules in future.

register of interests
register of interests
register of interests
Current Entry (Sep 2012)
deva 2006
deva 2006
 Register Entry covering 2006

Daniel Hannan MEP


Committee on Constitutional Affairs
Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly


Delegation for relations with the countries of the Andean Community
Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly

register of interests
 Current (Sep 2012) Register Entry
hannan hypocrisy
 Hannan hates the fact that lobbying in the EU has been ignored
dh alec 2009
 But not enough to prevent himself being involved in lobbying

Here's an interesting tweet from Mr Hannan, compare it to the declaration above:

I never took a penny from ALEC says hannan

The following extracts are from:

In an article entitled “If Tea Partiers are such deluded fools, why are they doing so well?” Hannan suggests again that the Tea Party is spontaneous and grassroots. He states “I have no special brief for the Tea Party.” He defends the Koch Brothers campaign saying “The only difference between us and the Kochs is one of scale: the Kochs are wealthy, and good luck to them.” But Hannan fails to disclose that he enjoys the Koch’s patronage through the American Legislative Exchange Council and the National Center for Policy Analysis. In 2009 Hannan addressed the Koch Foundation in a pro bono engagement. His 2009 Declaration of Members’ Financial Interests declares flights to the U.S. were paid for by the National Center for Policy Analysis , Regular Folks United, the Campaign for Liberty and the American Legislative Exchange Council . Two of those, the National Center for Policy Analysis and American Legislative Exchange Council are funded by climate deniers ExxonMobil and the Koch Family Foundations), the latter donating close to a million dollars .  He is quoted in the Koch in-house magazine

Other commercial interests

Hannan simply lists writing, paid speaking and journalism as his interest on his 2009 Declaration of Members’ Financial Interests. He declares his flights to the U.S. were paid for by the National Center for Policy Analysis , Regular Folks United, the Campaign for Liberty and the American Legislative Exchange Council (which in turn is funded by climate deniers ExxonMobil and the Koch Family Foundations) . Regular Folks United say they sponsored his U.S. Tour in April 2009 , which Hannan mentions on his blog in an article entitled ‘The truth about the Tea Party Movement’.  He has addressed the Koch Foundation , the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Reboot Britain Conference according to his agent PFD.

Roger Helmer MEP


Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
Committee on Petitions
Delegation for relations with the Korean Peninsula


Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

register of interests
Current Declaration (Sep 2012)
helmer 2006
helmer 2006
Declaration for 2006

There is an article in the Guardian written on 2nd November 2011 by Leo Hickman entitled:

Tory MEP advises palm oil lobbyists how best to neuter Brussels

The article demonstrates the arrogance inherent in a system that allows power without accountability. Mr Hickman quite rightly asked questions related to his area of interest, in this case the palm oil industry. The answers received are illuminating.
Helmer had travelled on to Malaysia to attend a palm oil industry conference in Malaysia and in response to Mr Hickman’s interest wrote

I wait for Leo Hickman of the Guardian to call up and ask me who paid for my air fare. A clue: it wasn’t the tax-payer.”

Mr Hickman did so and received the following in reply

…Like many MEPs and others in public life, I am often invited to speak at meetings and conferences. If these are overseas, it is customary for the organisers to offer to meet the travel expenses. I spoke at a conference of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council in Kuala Lumpar on 25 Jan. They kindly provided the airline tickets and paid for one night in an hotel. I did not see the bills so I do not know how much they paid. I did not accept and was not offered any payment, fee or gift in respect of the engagement. I away for the bare minimum of time necessary to complete the speaking engagement (three days including a Sunday, and around 30 horus total travelling time), and did not ride-in any holiday or leisure activities on the trip. You ask if this is a regular activity. I guess in the last couple of years I have done maybe two or three trips financed wholly or partly in such a way.

Mr Hickman noticed that there were references to several trips and asked for details of how these were funded

“Sorry, Leo, but I really have better things to do with my time, and I don’t make detailed records of when, where and why. But over recent years I have attended two Heartland conferences in the US, and probably two or three ALEC conferences. Any part of the costs funded by my parliamentary travel allowance would be included within a total for the period in the declaration, but not itemised. Any part funded by the organisers (I believe I recall they paid for hotels) would not be declared, as there is no requirement to do so, and I can’t imagine that anyone would be interested.

“A general point: while I recognise the right of the media to ask questions and hold parliamentarians to account, I think there comes a point where requests for more and more detail become simply time-wasting and vexatious, and I think you are very close to that point. I am not much minded to engage in further correspondence.”

Compare the responses from Mr Helmer to his obligations under the rules of the European parliament which would seem to indicate that it is totally irrelevant whether the taxpayer funded the trips or not, whether he received payment or not and whether he received expenses or not. The simple fact of  his carrying out such activities triggers the responsibility to complete the register. As a side note if ALEC did pay for the hotels they acted illegally under US tax law.

In an article on the ALEC Exposed section of Sourcewatch there is further discussion of Mr Helmers activities

MR Hickman in his article also writes

It took clarification from the Conservative Party in the UK and/or the European Conservative and Reformist Group (ECR), the grouping of conservative MEPs at the European parliament, that all his trips were legitimately funded using his MEP expenses allowance.

Emma McClarkin

Committee on Culture and Education
Delegation for relations with India
Committee on International Trade
Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
Special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering
Delegation for relations with Canada

Emma McClarkin MEP

has been working for the Party in the East Midlands Region over the last six years both as Press Officer to the Conservative Party’s East Midlands MEPs and as Political Advisor to Roger Helmer MEP in the European Parliament in Brussels. In the European Parliament, Emma is currently ECR Group Coordinator and Conservative Spokesman on Culture and Education.

According to sourcewatch

MEP Emma McClarkin (CP – East Midlands) presented on EU-US Relations at the International and Federal Relations Task Force meeting at the 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting

I am assuming she paid her own way as her official entry at Europarl makes no mention of the trip and her declaration under the Tory 'transparency' agenda is also silent on the matter.

 McClarkin's declared meetings with lobbyists under the Tory Transparency Agenda

Syed Kamall MEP

Member – Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs


Committee on International Trade
Committee on Transport and Tourism
Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union
Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean

Kamall register of interests
Kamall register of interests
Current register (Sep 2012)
kamall 2007
kamall 2007
Register entry for 2007

Robert Sturdy MEP

Vice-Chair – Committee on International Trade


Delegation to the Cariforum — EU Parliamentary Committee
Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly


Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
Delegation for relations with Iraq
Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament

Current Register
Current (September 2012) entry

Want the 'correct' answer? Quote yourself!

 Helmer's resolution

So Roger Helmer is introducing a resolution to an unaccountable American NGO (that funds much of his activities) to prevent accountable EU bodies from funding American NGO's whose EU funding is openly declared in the EU budget documents.
The referenced document 'Swaying American Opinions Congress Should Investigate EU Advocacy in the United States' was written by Sally McNamara. referred to here in a Speech to ALEC given by Roger Helmer:
Sally previously spent five years working for Chris Heaton-Harris and me in the UK and Brussels, before coming to Washington.
ALEC Heritage McNamara
McNamara's article for Heritage

The other cited source in the ALEC documents is our old friend the 'non-partisan' Taxpayers' Alliance

 The 'independent' research

What were the recommendations to come out of this ALEC resolution?
Alec doublethink
 Whereas we have no sense of irony we will pass resolutions such as these

With reference to the named EU members of ALEC and the political group within Europarl to which they mainly belong, the following document from the Heritage Foundation is particularly noteworthy.
Alec named sources
A call for transparency

Yes, they ARE lobbyists

One has to wonder how ALEC and the other right-wing lobby groups would react were there to be a proposal that 'US Federal and State governments should be informed of all past and future confidential payments....'
Fig: 37 Statement that ALEC has lobbied UK, EU governments directly

Did ALEC lobby the UK and EU? Remember that under US law they are claiming not to be a lobbying group.

We also have an FOI response from BIS dated July 2012 which states

Both Dr Vince Cable (Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills) and Mark Prisk MP (Minister of State for Business and Enterprise) received letters dated 22 December 2011 from one Karla Jones who is Director of International and Federal Relations at ALEC. Neither letter was solicited. As is the case with much Ministerial correspondence the letters were reviewed by BIS officials. In this case the letters were so reviewed and were placed on the Department’s information keeping system. Neither Minister saw the letters and no advice was provided to Ministers by officials. No further action was taken.

The letters set out the views of ALEC on possible changes EU Tobacco Products Directive which the European Commission has consulted publicly on. The original letter is held by DG SANCO B 232 at the Commission.

Finally, in October 2012, we have copies of the letters sent by ALEC to the Dept. for Business Innovation and Skills.
ALEC tobacco lobbying
alec tobacco lobbying
eu lobbying
alec tobacco lobbying
alec tobacco lobbying
alec tobacco lobbying

We are awaiting further FOI requests to both UK and EU officials. ALEC responded to an EU Consultation: POSSIBLE REVISION OF THE TOBACCO PRODUCTS DIRECTIVE 2001/37/EC
PUBLIC CONSULTATION DOCUMENT DG SANCO 2010. We detail the ALEC responses to the EU consultation here:  Submissions to the EU by lobbyists & Think Tanks

Finally, after some bureaucratic nonsense, the document proving that ALEC not only lobbies in the UK but in the EU

ALEC lobbies EU on tobacco
ALEC lobbies EU on tobacco
ALEC lobbies EU on tobacco
ALEC lobbies EU on tobacco
ALEC lobbies EU on tobacco

We can also compare the statements made by ALEC and the Heritage Foundation to those made by Mr Heaton-Harris:

- Non-Governmental Organisations

The European Commission over the years has chosen to fund hundreds of different NGOs using the money in the Budget.  I have many problems with this – not least how you can define yourself as a non-governmental organisation if you are taking a large percentage of your income from government…

It is even more dodgy if you consider the following: The Commission pays money to hundreds of NGOs. The NGOs are pleased to accept the money. The Commission proposes a Directive in an area the NGO is active in. How, then does the NGO react if it does not like the Directive – does it bite the hand that feeds it?

Actually it is worse than that. In a number of cases the Commission will consult around a policy area in which it wants to take an initiative. It consults, amongst others, with NGOs it funds and has a relationship with. The Commission takes the advice of the NGOs and then decides to run a project that it puts out to tender. The NGOs the Commission consulted with bid and perhaps win the contract.

A self-fulfilling prophecy – and probably part of the explanation as to why we have so many new laws emanating from the Commission! (Farmers watch out – the Commission funds a number of groups that came together last year to form an organisation called “Pesticide Watch”. Anyone involved in agriculture will tell you what a dog’s breakfast the Commission is making of the “Pesticides Directive” and how it will hurt European farmers – and no one can work out where the support for the Commission’s proposals came from. Well, perhaps they were actually bought and paid for by the Commission itself!)

The Commission knows this is slightly dodgy and this explains why invariably the funding for each individual NGO is hidden away – it is the devil in the detail of the Budget itself. Over the past couple of years I have asked the Commission hundreds of questions to try and find out what organisations the Commission is funding.

In PDB 2009 there is at least £247.5m spent by the European Commission on various NGOs. As I suggest above, these organisations are often paid simply to lobby the Commission on policy issues from the environment to European integration.

It is difficult to estimate the true amount (I suspect that I have significantly underestimated), as many are hidden far down in obscure budget lines. The figure I quoted above is an extrapolation for 2009 based on average grants that were received over the past three years by the NGOs we know about, plus other grants found in the PDB 2009 (e.g. Budget Lines 210302, 150555, and 040409)

The organisations include:

  • CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK EUROPE, environmental policy lobbyists
  • EUROPEAN MOVEMENT, European federalist think-tank
  • EUROPEAN TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION, who lobby on employment policy
  • EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL BUREAU, environmental lobbyists
  • COALITION FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT, a lobby group whose aim is to persuade world governments (particularly the USA) to recognise the ICC

Remember the Heritage Foundation Background Briefing? Here’s the preamble

Abstract: The European Union is pouring enormous amounts of money into the United States. Regular multimillion-dollar payments to individuals and organizations in the U.S. raise important questions over Brussels’ interference in U.S. political and social debates—including climate change, the death penalty, and membership of the International Criminal Court. It is also not possible to justify EU human rights budgets being spent in one of the world’s freest nations. The EU budget has become synonymous with profligacy, waste, fraud, and mismanagement. It is beyond time for EU member state governments and European parliamentarians to take action. And it is Congress’s duty to ascertain whether these expenditures are in compliance with U.S. laws, and to ensure that American interests are protected.

I wouldn’t have thought that protecting American interests is necessarily the purpose for which British voters elect their representatives.

On the apparent failure to accurately and fully complete a declaration of interests it would be interesting to hear the reasons given by someone who can say

For the past nine years or so I have been a Member of the Audit Committee of the European Parliament

Whilst on the subject of auditors now would seem a good time to mention this article from the Telegraph:

Euro-MPs reject calls for inquiry 'into scam'

The European parliament yesterday tried to avert a formal investigation into possible fraud by Euro-MPs worth almost £100 million a year.

The report by the parliament's internal auditor details expenses scams worth up to £125,000 a year for each Euro-MP. The European Union's anti-fraud office, OLAF, has written a letter requesting access to the document, which parliament will receive today.

"We heard about this document on Monday and we were interested straight away," said a source at OLAF. "Now we have had requests from MEPs for OLAF to look into it. We want to see it."

But the parliament said yesterday that it saw no need for an investigation.

"As the internal auditor's report has not revealed any individual cases of fraud, he has not recommended referring his findings to the EU anti-fraud agency OLAF," it said in a statement.

EU and Parliament officials have tried to play down the internal audit of parliamentary assistance allowances as a dull and complicated "systems analysis".

Chris Davies, a British Liberal Democrat Euro-MP, who has read the report and demanded a full fraud investigation, said the parliament's stance was "outrageous".

"I have read this report and it is deeply shocking," he said. "The best way to settle this is to publish."

Gordon Brown, on his first visit to Brussels since taking office, intervened in the row to call for openness.

The secrecy surrounding the parliament faces another test early next week when Euro-MPs respond to a demand from the EU's open information watchdog for the publication of pension perks.

Nikiforos Diamandouros, the European Ombudsman, is demanding publication of a list naming the 475 Euro-MPs who benefit from a pension scheme worth more than £1,400 a month with the taxpayer matching every euro personally contributed with two from the public purse.

Amongst the MEPs who voted against an investigation into the claims:

Mr Richard Ashworth MEP
Conservative Party

Mr Chris Heaton-Harris MEP
Conservative Party

Mr Martin Callanan MEP
Conservative Party

Mr Timothy Kirkhope MEP
Conservative Party

Mr Daniel Hannan MEP
Conservative Party

Mr Robert Sturdy MEP
Conservative Party

Mr Nirj Deva MEP
Conservative Party

There’s a spreadsheet detailing MEPs records on transparency issues here and further below we show the true nature of the Conservative attitude to expenses; they voted against a strengthening of oversight!

There also seems to be evidence that the ties between European conservatives and their American counterparts is also shaping, or seeking to shape, foreign policy considerations in other parts of the world including the South Caucasus, Australasia, south east Asia and South America:

oz debate

alec argentina
ybf argentina
Figs 38 & 39: All singing from the same hymn sheet

Timeline - ALEC and the Tories: A History

*many historical links will not work but are provided for information; the data has been extracted from local copies we hold


International Freedom Exchange

ALEC is also working to promote closer working relations between America’s state political leaders and their foreign counterparts. The underlying purpose is to build a better understanding of America’s political process and maintain an ongoing dialogue of how free-market societies are prepared to meet future challenges and the emerging global economy. In 2002, ALEC staff held discussions with several international delegations, including British Members of the European Parliament, regional leaders of the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic, and representatives of the Kosovar Parliament.More recently, ALEC’s Michael Flynn held a briefing at an international conference on federalism sponsored by the German think tank, Friedrich Naumann. Future ALEC activities aim to bring emerging political leaders from other countries into this international freedom exchange. In 2003, a delegation of European Members of Parliament will be meeting with American state lawmakers at ALEC’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.


Senator William G. Hewes III, ALEC National Chairman 2004

Just as the White House and Congress gear up for their new electoral cycles, Europe is also at the start of a new 5 year phase. The new enlarged European Parliament is just finding its feet following June’s Europe-wide elections and she has already shown signs that she will fully flex her institutional muscles when needed. Soon the new European Commission of 25 will also take up a fresh term, with a new set of priorities and challenges. One of the biggest challenges facing Europe is surely its very direction. The new Constitutional Treaty currently undergoing ratification in Member States is by no means a shoe-in and the EU will spend much of the next 18 months trying to establish its exact place on the world stage. Perhaps this is why EU-US relations have become schizophrenic of late. At times Europe and America have acted in complete harmony and presented a united front; At other times, our relationship has been overtly fractious. That is where legislators have a key role to play – in bringing forward a relationship based on co-operation and trust. ALEC’s EU project is now well under way and we’ve found friends in the conservative delegations of Britain, Hungary and the Czech Republic. We hope to extend this further and establish an on-going dialogue with conservatives across the European Union. Indeed, the new European Commission is also showing very welcome signs of pragmatism and collaboration. The EU’s incoming Commissioner for External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, says she wants a determined and decisive multilateral effort to fight international terrorism. She has also stressed that the EU must now show support for the broader political process in Iraq. This common-sense approach to the international scene is to be welcomed as a positive sign of things to come. ALEC will welcome three MEPs to its States and Nations Policy Summit in Washington D.C. this December to discuss the latest aspects of the transatlantic relationship. We also hope to build a firm bridge across the Atlantic for our shared conservative ideas and I know that everyone at ALEC will do their best to welcome our European guests.

Speech by Chris Heaton-Harris MEP

2004 States and Nation Policy Summit

Washington, D.C.

Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before I start may I just say thank you to ALEC for inviting me to this excellent conference. It is a great privilege for me to be here with my colleagues from the European Parliament: Martin Callanan, who, alas, returned to the UK last night and Roger Helmer, who I know many of you have met and listened to.

I am Chris Heaton-Harris and all three of us were re-elected for our second five year terms to the European Parliament back in June.

The European Parliament has 724 members from 25 countries representing 450m people and using 20 official languages. As you can imagine, it is a very complicated place.

Often we have translation problems. In fact only last week a Polish translator interpreted: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” into: “The vodka is OK, but the meat is under-cooked.”

And in the EP, I am lucky to work with so many amazing people – and, of course, the French.

We English say that when God created France he found it so perfect that, to comfort the people who couldn’t live there, he invented the French.

Actually, I try not to use the French for cheap political laughs – you see I use to have a girlfriend who was half-French – I know that because she only shaved under one armpit.

It was also a privilege to see Fred Barnes receive the “Warren Brookes Award”. Alas in the UK, and indeed across Europe, we have very few Conservative journalists like Fred Barnes is or Warren Brookes was.

And boy do we need them!

Now I know we elected politicians moan occasionally about our friends in the media when we don’t live up to expectations – or we get something wrong – and we hate it when we get mis-reported – but, boy, don’t we just love it when we get complimented in the papers, when we successfully get our points across on the radio.

Unsurprisingly though, it is being on TV that seems to give us the biggest buzz.

You know how it is… you’re called by your local station, you travel down, do your stuff on TV, finish up and leave just in time to get the phone calls from your friends saying just how fantastic you were. And days later, sometimes weeks, people recognise you in the street – they have no idea what you said, all they know is that your face was on their TV the other day.

I remember my first major TV appearance, back in 1995 when I was a young candidate standing for a seat in the House of Commons, but a seat I had no chance of winning.

I’d run some decent campaigns though, got some good newspaper coverage and was a young candidate – and the BBC decided they wanted to interview me live on my local news.

It was fantastic! I put on my best suit, went and did the interview – and we all know when we’ve done well – and I was really pleased. I went outside, turned on my mobile phone and immediately got my first call, from my Aunt – to tell me that my flies were undone.

Not exactly the sort of exposure I’d wanted to get that day!

But when those press guys are out to get someone, well boy are they wicked.

In the UK our tabloid newspapers are ruthless. I have a colourful friend in the UK. He’s a MP and at the moment our press are out to get him – and he knows it.

Two weeks ago he went to speak at a big dinner up in Edinburgh, Scotland. When he got off the train in Edinburgh he was met by a gang of story-hungry journalists and photographers. As my friend walked to a taxi they bombarded him with questions about his personal life; but he resisted answering them.

Just as he got to the taxi, he relaxed and someone shouted: “Boris, are you going to the strip clubs tonight?”

To which, quick as a flash he answered: “Are there any strip clubs here?” and closed the door happily, having dealt with the onslaught.

Next morning’s headlines were bad: MP’s first words in Edinburgh: “Are there any strip clubs here?”

Now, I can’t claim to be an ALEC member or alumni; in fact it was only a couple of years ago that I was introduced to this organisation and Jeffersonian principles. In the UK I’m pretty well known for my Conservative views – it seems to me that no matter where you are s true Conservative will always stand for the same things:

To limit government
For lower taxes
For free trade and open markets
Individual freedom
Showing respect and taking personal responsibility.

But I didn’t know these core values as Jeffersonian principles – to me these were Thatcherisms.

Alas being a Conservative in Europe now is much tougher than when Mrs Thatcher was around – scaring our neighbours with her intellectual capacity and huge handbags.

Nowadays, with the help of European legislation, regulation is on the increase and government’s power over the people is steadily rising.

Indeed if you ever needed to point out to someone who just doesn’t get it – your average CNN producer for example – just compare the economic conditions and personal liberty here in the US with Europe, or even the UK.

In the UK government is growing – big time.

In 1999/2000 UK government spending was 37.4% of GDP.
By 2005/6 it will be 42%
By 2012/13 – at the current rate it will be 46%.

If you need an example to prove that tax and spend does not work; look no further than across the Pond.

Our government increased spending on what we call our core public services (NHS, education etc) by 58% since 1997. But measured outputs increased by only 13% with the rest of the money being spent of bureaucracy!

Regulations in the UK are strangling business.

Since 1997 our present government have introduced 15 new regulations every working day. British civil servants are in heaven – almost everything they conceive ends up on the statute books.

And business suffers. Our Confederation of British Industry have said that the regulatory burden imposed on them has cost UK industry £54bn ($98bn) and that is money not spent on innovation or on improving productivity or in investing in new jobs – no surprise then that productivity growth in the UK has nearly halved.

And there’s worse yet to come… many of you will have heard of the European Constitution – and just by its name you might think, well this is a good thing.

But whereas your Constitution is a truly enduring historical document based on life, liberty and limiting government; ours is a socialist manifesto.

Let me list some things it calls “fundamental rights”:

The freedom to form trade unions.
The right to collective bargaining and action.
The freedom to choose an occupation. (I want to be an astronaut and I’ll sue you if you don’t let me be one!)
The right to have fair and just working conditions.
The right to reconcile family and professional life.

And these rights will all be interpreted by our version of your Supreme Court – the EU’s Court of Justice.

All this will come on top of the piles of regulations and measures that help Europe export the jobs that we already have.

In fact the only economic convergence that has taken place in the past few years in Europe is towards slower growth and deteriorating public finances,

And then we add the daft regulations that European government imposes….

The EU already has regulations that require bananas to be straight.

We have a “Vibrations Directive” that if implemented, would mean that farmers would struggle to harvest their crops – because driving their equipment over the dry bumpy earth would subject their backsides to more vibrations per minute than Europe allows.

And we are currently looking at legislation that will mean the complete re-testing of all chemicals used in Europe by our industrial base – a regulations that if adopted in its current form, will move Europe’s chemical industry to the Far-East almost overnight.

We are even discussing a “Health and Nutrition Directive”; part of which aims – and think about this – to eliminate health claims made about food.

So no longer in Europe will we be able to say: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away!”

Across the Pond whenever our economies look like gaining steam, we add regulation, more government – to help push them to the point of recession.

In Europe it seems as though politicians are people who, when coming to the light at the end of a tunnel, order more tunnel!

The French Philosopher, de Tocqueville, once spoke of “government covering the face of society with a network of small complicated rules, until the nation is reduced to a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which government is the shepherd.”

There you go! The exception that proves the rule… a Frenchman who was right!

And that, alas, describes Europe today.

But why should you all care about what’s happening over in Europe? Surely, if Europe’s economy goes downhill it won’t effect America.

Well do remember that the EU is one of the biggest markets for American produced goods.

And also remember what Ronald Reagan once said in one of his radio commentaries back in the 70’s:

That “we should always be wary and watch out for government’s communications grapevine. When one set of jungle drums is pounded by a group of bureaucrats” he said “another group of bureaucrats will be listening.”

That’s how regulation spreads: from you to us, like smoking bans, or from us to you! And trust me – those jungle drums are beating hard and fast in Europe.

To me the solution to all these problems I’ve outlined seems obvious – Europe needs Jeffersonian principles/Thatcherisms.

In fact we must really start by helping Europe’s Conservatives remember what being a Conservative is all about – and to do that I believe we need a role model.

And actually I think we have a ready-made role model here today in ALEC and all of you.

You understand what Jeffersonian principles are all about and you deliver policy that makes them work and improves peoples’ lives.

But alas, in Europe, we have no organisation like ALEC – and we really need one.

That is why I am so glad you have started your international program – that will help us true believers out there fight the good fight.

Over the past couple of years it has been really tough being a Conservative in Europe.

Coming here this week has been like taking a bottle of political Viagra – I feel completely re-energised!

So I’d like to thank you all – for your friendship, your hospitality and your inspiration.

God bless you all!

Roger Helmer

Speech to American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

Washington DC – December 1 2004

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As always, it’s a huge pleasure for me, and my colleagues Chris Heaton-Harris and Martin Callanan, to be here with you at another ALEC Conference. I’d like especially to thank Duane Parde, and his fellow officers at ALEC, for the invitation, and I’d also like to thank ALEC staffer Sally McNamara for organising our programme. Sally previously spent five years working for Chris Heaton-Harris and me in the UK and Brussels, before coming to Washington.

In a world where globalisation is accelerating, and where we all face the common threat of terrorism, I believe that the transatlantic relationship, which has underpinned our security for all of my life-time, is becoming more, not less, important. I very much regret the apparent lack of commitment to this relationship from Brussels, with its constant sniping and posturing on transatlantic trade and security issues.

In these circumstances, it is crucial to maintain and strengthen links between conservative politicians and thinkers on both sides of the water. I believe that ALEC has a vital role to play in this dialogue, and this is why it is such a great pleasure, and privilege, for me and my colleagues to be here with you today.

Across in Brussels, I and my colleagues are part of a beleaguered minority. The great majority of MEPs in the EU parliament, far from embracing Jeffersonian principles, have never even heard of them. They subscribe to a new gospel of European integration, based on powerful and unaccountable supra-national institutions, high taxes, unaffordable social and welfare spending, and massive over-regulation of every area of life. The EU is the most over-regulated, over-governed, over-taxed, over-borrowed economic bloc in the world.

Like so many ruling orthodoxies, from the Spanish Inquisition to Stalin’s NKVD, the EU is intolerant of dissent.

I used the word “gospel” advisedly. It seems that some enthusiasts for the European project are starting to invest it with quasi-religious properties. A judge in the European Court of Justice recently expressed the opinion that any criticism of the European project was — and I quote — “akin to blasphemy”, and was therefore not protected by the usual laws of free speech.

In Belgium recently, a euro-critical party, the Vlaams Blok, was outlawed by the courts on trumped-up charges of prejudice and xenophobia, despite at the last election having the highest share-of-vote in the country. As my friend and fellow-MEP Dan Hannan has remarked, in the old Soviet Union, they never banned elections. They merely banned political parties that disagreed with the state. The parallels are too close for comfort.

In Strasbourg in November, at the hearings for the new EU Commission, a British MEP drew attention to the earlier conviction of the French candidate, M. Barrot, for embezzlement of political funds. The conviction was little-known, since M. Barrot had received a presidential amnesty, and under a curious quirk of French law, any offence subject to amnesty is wiped from the record and may not be mentioned again. The MEP was then threatened with legal consequences not only by political group leaders, but by the President of the Parliament as well.

The idea that a parliamentarian could be threatened with legal consequences merely for stating a plain fact, in the chamber of the parliament itself, augurs badly for liberty and the rule of law in the EU.

This is why, for me and my colleagues, a visit to Washington recharges our political batteries. It is a joy and a privilege to be, for a few days at least, amongst those who share our political outlook, and who hold liberty and the rule of law in high regard.

While we enjoy coming to Washington, we also do our best to maintain transatlantic relations in Brussels, and we always look forward to events organised by the American Chamber, which has a high reputation over there. Indeed I sometimes think they know more about what’s going on in the EU institutions than we do!

On Nov 17th we were guests at the American Chamber dinner in Strasbourg, where David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell, was the keynote speaker. I met a charming, tall, elderly Polish MEP, whom I had better not name. In any case his name was one of those Polish jaw-breakers that I probably couldn’t pronounce to start with. He is a member of the right-wing, euro-sceptic League of Polish Families. And we talked about global warming and the Kyoto protocol.

He told me he was a scientist, and he had studied this issue. He was not at all convinced that global warming was a reality. The evidence, he said, was mixed. But if it was happening, he doubted that it was anthropogenic, or that it was necessarily, always and everywhere, a bad thing. There would be winners and losers. But he was convinced of one thing — that the Kyoto programme would have little or no effect, and that it would waste trillions of euros. So far so good. He’s right. I agreed with him.

Earlier that week, we had voted on the Florenz report on Global Warming. You will not be at all surprised to hear that this report was pro-Kyoto — not so much politically correct as ideologically purified. But — get this — our Polish MEP was going to vote for it! Naturally, I asked him why, and he replied with disarming candour. Under Kyoto’s emissions trading régime, Poland stood to make truck-loads of money. With many old-fashioned, dirty production processes, they would start with a huge bank of emissions permits, which they could sell to the West as they cleaned up their act.

Unconcerned at the massive, mindless, futile waste of Kyoto, he saw it simply as a way for his country to ramp up its subsidy entitlements. This little story tells you much of what you need to know, both about the EU and about Kyoto.

Mind you, I’m not criticising Poland. Given the policies we have created, this MEP’s determination to deliver value for his country and his constituents is understandable, even commendable. But what a spectacular example of the unintended consequences, and the perverse incentives, that riddle the EU and the environmental movement.

Ladies and gentlemen: The great development on the table in Europe today is the new European Constitution. It is a document which is easy to ridicule, especially when we compare it to the US Constitution. It contains 750 pages of turgid prose, and instead of focussing on the great issues of liberty, democracy and governance, it delves into the minutiae of life, of social security rights and the protection of Malta’s abortion laws. (Malta has a population of around 300,000). In fact it is not so much a Constitution as a political manifesto, and a leftish manifesto at that.

It is easy to ridicule, but dangerous to ignore the threat. There is a world of difference between the EU we have today, and the EU of the Constitution. Today, at least in theory, the EU is a Treaty-based organisation linking independent, democratic sovereign nations. Under the Constitution, it becomes for all practical purposes a country in its own right, with its own legal personality.

What do you call an organisation that has, or is putting in place, a Constitution, a currency, a central bank, a supreme court, a President, a Foreign Minister, an elected parliament, common external borders and tariffs, border guards, an army — not to mention a passport, a flag and an anthem?

Ladies and gentlemen, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck ….. !

And in that new country called Europe, the ancient nations of our continent will be little more than provinces.

Does this matter to America? You bet it does! Too many of the Chancelleries of Europe are animated by an endemic Anti-Americanism, heightened recently by the Iraq war. They speak of a euro currency, and EU armed forces, to “counter-balance US dominance”. They are developing their own Global Positioning System, Galileo, not because they need it — you make your own system available free of charge — but to assert their growing confidence as a global power. In doing so, they threaten the strategic balance, and the vital transatlantic flow of military and security intelligence.

My advice, which I have offered whenever I have been this side of the water, is that the US should know its friends in Europe, and work with them country-by-country, rather than seeking to deal with the EU as a single entity. I am delighted to see that this view is catching on in Washington, and I particularly commend the Heritage Foundation briefing paper of October 2004 by John C. Hulsman and Nile Gardiner, entitled “A Conservative Vision for US Policy Toward Europe”, which takes exactly this position.

I and my colleagues are convinced that the EU Constitution is a profound threat to the prosperity, the democracy and increasingly to the security of our country. But we also to believe that an assertive, unified, Constitution-based EU is not in America’s best interest either.

Our great task for the next couple of years is to campaign in the UK against ratification of the EU Constitution. We think we can win this battle, and we would be hugely encouraged to have your moral support in our campaign. Thank you.

helmer 2004
Figs 39 & 40: Roger Helmer article for ALEC, September 2004(above) and Martin Callanan article for ALEC, November 2012(below)

callanan 2004


Names 2004
Fig 41: A list of ALEC articles from 2004 and early 2005

Representative Earl Ehrhart, ALEC’s National Chairman 2005

Having been recently appointed ALEC National Chairman, I am delighted to see our international relations project now moving full steam ahead. I have asked my immediate predecessor as National Chairman, Senator Billy Hewes, to Chair the ALEC Board of Director’s Committee on International Relations, while Ken Lane of DIAGEO will co-chair in a private sector capacity. These gentlemen enjoy my full support, and I believe that we have a strong a team to lead from the front & move forward with our international coalition-building.

Anyone who attended our States and Nation Policy Summit in Washington this month knows just how important it is to have friends across the Atlantic. Chris Heaton-Harris MEP delivered a remarkable speech, which directly addressed our principles. He asked for our help and mutual support – and ALEC is delighted to offer it. Not least because the threats posed by the European Constitution can easily be transported over here – the threats to free trade, free markets and individual liberty.

These debates about the future of Europe & its international status are increasingly relevant to America and to our companies who operate inside the EU. That is why I am so happy to see ALEC taking the lead in shaping the policy debate for the future of transatlantic relations.

LA State Senator Noble Ellington, ALEC Board of Directors

Think tanks have become somewhat part of the establishment in Washington. In fact, it would be fair to say that there’s a healthy amount of competition among DC’s thinkers; competition for the best people, for the best promotional tools and for the best access to the Nation’s policy makers. And there is little doubt in the conservative movement that this has been a good thing – that new think tanks have increased the strength of existing think tanks, attracting new activists and advancing “the movement”.

But what about Europe? Brussels has previously been marked by its very lack of free market think tanks, and its proliferation of EU funded “groups”. It is a fact that virtually all government funds which flow into lobbying/pressure groups go to leftist organizations. This fact underlies the damaging economic road the EU has chosen to go down in recent years, spurred by its “consultations” with these elite, quasi-independent interest groups.

But it seems that the conservatives are fighting back. On my recent trip to Brussels with ALEC, I attended a conference entitled Does the West Know Best, organized by The Stockholm Network. SN is a network of 120 market-oriented think tanks, working with Europe’s brightest policymakers and thinkers. Does the West Know Best examined the new EU member states’ more radical approaches to social and economic reform, such as flat taxation, the privatization of social security and moves towards more market-oriented health systems. I was awed to meet people from think tanks in places such as Croatia and Estonia, who have literally lived (or indeed still living) through the transition from communism to democracy. Their determination to pursue the ideals of the free market – regardless of the current political climate or pressure – amazed me. Newly elected Polish MEP Michal Kaminski frequently relays the story about how he learned about conservatism by listening to Mrs. Thatcher & President Reagan on the BBC World Service on a clandestine radio, hidden under his bed covers, for fear of the authorities.

Free market think tanks are now converging on Brussels, either directly or indirectly. The Center for New Europe, a non-profit, pro-market research foundation is headquartered in Brussels, popping up everywhere with its well-researched publications and arguments; SN’s Europe-wide network is rapidly developing into a formal arrangement of academics, policy practitioners, journalists and business people, exchanging market-oriented policy ideas and reform strategies right across the EU. The conservatives are seemingly back in Brussels. Lets hope for good.


Sally McNamara has been invited as a regular columnist for the London-based think tank, The Bruges Group. The Bruges Group is an independent all-party think tank, founded in February 1989 with the vision of a free trading, decentralized, deregulated and democratic Europe of nation-states. Its inspiration was Margaret Thatcher’s Bruges speech in September 1988, in which she remarked that, “We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level.”

The Bruges Group can be found at


ALEC was privileged to host five conservative legislators from the European Parliament at a roundtable discussion on June 27th. Martin Callanan, Chris Heaton-Harris, Roger Helmer, Dan Hannan and Michal Tomasz Kaminski MEPs briefed ALEC members on a range of topics, including REACH, the draft European Constitution and the precautionary principle.

For further details of this meeting, please email

ALEC’s Executive Director, Duane Parde, was invited to visit London last month in order to attend a gala dinner in honor of former Prime Minister, Lady Margaret Thatcher. At the personal invitation of British Conservative MEP Chris Heaton-Harris, Mr. Parde met Mrs. Thatcher, who later addressed the dinner, speaking through an aide.

ALEC’s International Relations Project Director, Sally McNamara, attended the Heritage Foundation’s conference “Is the European Union in the Interests of the United States?” Speakers included Christopher Booker (journalist and editor, UK Daily Telegraph), Judge Robert H. Bork (Distinguished Fellow, Hudson Institute) and The Rt. Hon David Heathcoat-Amory MP (British parliamentarian).

ALEC’s Adam Smith Scholar Roger Helmer MEP produces a monthly e-update on his parliamentary activities, entitled Straight Talking on Europe. To receive Straight Talking, please email


ALEC was delighted to welcome Czech Republic MEP, Dr. Ivo Strejcek to its 32nd Annual Meeting in Grapevine, Texas. Dr. Strejcek spoke about the importance of the Transatlantic Relationship and the role of legislators in preserving the alliance. Christopher Horner, of the European Enterprise Institute, then spoke about the precautionary principle and the EU’s attempts to make it the international standard.

For copies of Dr. Strejcek or Mr. Horner’s PowerPoint presentations, please contact Sally McNamara –


As part of its International Relations Project, ALEC took a group of legislators and private sector members to Strasbourg and Prague last month, and met with leading members of the European public policy community to debate various issues on the current global agenda. In Strasbourg, we were hosted at both the European Parliament and the U.S. Consulate General; In Prague, we were hosted at the Czech Parliament, Senate and the American Embassy. We were personally welcomed by Consulate General Frankie Reed and His Excellency William Cabaniss in Strasbourg and Prague respectively.

For more details and a full report on this educational exchange, please contact Sally McNamara –

The Instituto Liberdade, an independent, free market Brazilian think-tank, is currently promoting ALEC’s paper on intellectual property rights and the global agenda. Addressing the Brazilian Government’s action with regard to breaking patents, (see “Spotlight On”), the Instituto Liberdade is disseminating this paper for the furtherance of public policy debate. To visit their website –

ALEC was privileged to attend the Autumn Strategy Meeting of the Transatlantic Policy Network in Washington D.C. this month. Entitled “The United States and the European Union: Working Together to Solve Global challenges”, TPN is a non-governmental, public-private network working for a stable, strong transatlantic partnership. Hosted at the Capitol, successful sessions were held on financial services, the digital economy and intellectual property rights.


As part of its annual exchange visits with European legislators, a bi-partisan, high-level ALEC delegation visited Strasbourg, France and Prague, Czech Republic last month.

Meeting in Strasbourg during the plenary session of the European Parliament, ALEC met with 20 European legislators, from several EU Member States and, in keeping with our non partisan philosophy, from differing Parliamentary parties. During this session, we were particularly proud to welcome Roger Helmer MEP as the first member of our new for international legislators membership program. Roger has served as ALEC’s Adam Smith Scholar for several years and will also attend our upcoming States and Nation Policy Summit in Washington D.C. next month. ALEC is delighted to continue this successful public policy exchange with Europe’s legislators.

ALEC’s Prague program was equally as exciting. It began with a series of meetings with representatives from the ODS Party, the Czech Republic’s conservative party and major opposition to the current left-wing government. We were welcomed by leading legislators, including Mirek Topolanek (Chairman of ODS) and Ivo Strejcek, Member of the European Parliament. Ivo addressed ALEC’s Annual Meeting in Texas earlier this year, and reminds us that the diversity and vibrancy of the European Parliament has been vastly enhanced with the inclusion of several hundred legislators from Eastern and Central Europe.

ALEC was also exceptionally privileged to be hosted at the American Embassy in Prague, to be personally welcomed by His Excellency, Ambassador William J. Cabaniss. In the spectacular surroundings of the Ambassador’s private residence, former Alabama State Legislator Mr. Cabaniss enthusiastically greeted ALEC and encouraged the continuance of deep bi-lateral relations between our two nations.

The ultimate mission of the international relations project is: “To foster a policy-based program for the promotion, exchange, and implementation of Jeffersonian principles at the international level.” With a varied program, meeting all levels of policy-makers, ALEC’s international visit successfully continues our dialogue with like-minded legislators, as well as establishing new working relationships throughout the international policy community.


ALEC’s Executive Director

The tragedy of the terrorist bombings in London seem all too vivid this side of the Atlantic – and not just because of our own recent experiences; the ‘special relationship’ that defines Anglo-American relations means that we have a shared understanding that these attacks are attacks on the liberty and freedom we fight together for, at home and abroad. We know that the sympathies and resolve of the American people are with the British people right now then – just as they stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us in the wake of 9/11.

I visited London for the second time this June, to meet with conservative legislators from both Westminster and Brussels. Newly elected Conservative Party MPs Robert Goodwill and Peter Bone both talked about the domestic policy scene in England, including the problems of devolving power down from the national governmental level. Although the Conservatives are in a minority at a national level, they are in the majority at the local level. But in the absence of any sort of ALEC model, they often have trouble benchmarking conservative policies or sharing information. Chris Heaton-Harris MEP, who stood for local election several times before entering the European Parliament, believes that ALEC’s formula of sharing model legislation and meeting on a consistent basis to share best practice is one that British Conservatives should now start to imitate.

I also met with several British MEPs in London, including Michal Tomasz Kaminski (Poland) and Roger Helmer (UK and ALEC’s Adam Smith Scholar). With the emergence of strong ‘new” member states in the European Union, like Poland, they too are having trouble bringing together genuinely conservative legislators to form international alliances. Michal Kaminski talked extensively about how well organized the left is, and how they bring fresh impetus to their work across the world with mutual support and information-sharing; he too is keen to use the ALEC model to bring international leadership to the conservative movement.

The highlight of the trip though had to be a gala dinner hosted in honor of former Prime Minister, Lady Margaret Thatcher. Despite turning 80 this October, the Iron Lady is still an imposing figure on the world stage; and our brief meeting seems all the more poignant now as America and Britain once again fight together to preserve our way of life – just as she did with such conviction throughout the Cold War with President Reagan.

Our two countries have shared the greatest of triumphs and the greatest of tragedies over the years, from the beaches of Normandy to the deserts of Iraq. My visit to London highlighted to me that this alliance is one that we conservatives must fight to preserve. ALEC’s model of sharing information and promoting policies rooted firmly in our Jeffersonian principles is surely the best place to start then.


Having officially launched its international legislators’ membership program in Strasbourg in October, ALEC is now registering local, regional, national and international legislative members. ALEC is an individual membership, non partisan organization. For an application form, please contact


With three extremely distinguished speakers, ALEC held its second international relations workshop of our annual States and Nation Policy Summit in Washington D.C. in December. Following on from an extremely successful year of policy development among ALEC’s members and our new international contacts, ALEC was privileged to host Mr. Roger Helmer (Member of the European Parliament, UK), Dr. John K. Glenn (Director of Foreign Policy, German Marshall Fund of the United States) and Dr. Boguslaw Winid (Deputy Chief of Mission, Polish Embassy).
Entitled “The Global Agenda: Why the Transatlantic Relationship Really Matters,” Senator William G. Hewes III, Chairman of ALEC’s International Relations Committee, moderated three agenda items

(i) Topical debates in today’s European Union, 

(ii) Emerging international regulatory issues, including the precautionary principle and protection of intellectual property rights, and 

(iii) The wider global agenda and the importance of the transatlantic relationship.

Roger Helmer MEP warned of the dangers of further European integration and encouraged ALEC to apply its Jeffersonian principles of federalism in its global outlook. Boguslaw Winid welcomed the deep bilateral relations
that Poland shares with the United States, and expressed concerns about burgeoning global regulatory frameworks that work against the growing competitiveness of emerging countries like Poland. And John Glenn laid out
the essentiality of further co-operation and dialogue among transatlantic allies, for economic, social and political reasons – if only to combat the differences that threaten to divide the strongest democratic alliance in the
world today.
Having completed it first full year, the international relations project has seen tremendous growth and support, enhanced greatly by our partnership with legislators, the private sector, academics, think tanks and diplomats from right across Europe. We are now entering 2006 with renewed vigor and a strong coalition of principled, conservatively-minded policy makers. We have just launched our new membership program for international
legislators, and are planning for our 2006 exchange visit to Europe to be just as successful as 2005 (to Strasbourg, France and Prague, Czech Republic).
ALEC looks forward to maintaining relations with all of its partners – old and new – and working to maintain its constructive dialogue on key transatlantic themes.
ALEC would also like to thank all of its partners for their support last year and wish you all a happy 2006.


ALEC was privileged to be invited to the opening of the Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom (February 16). In his speech to new Center, Dr. Liam Fox MP (UK) lectured on the special relationship between London and Washington, assessing the challenges that lie ahead for the United States and the United Kingdom, from the NATO operation in Afghanistan to the Iranian nuclear crisis and the growing threat of international terrorism.

ALEC will hold an international relations seminar with Bill Cash Member of Parliament (UK) on April 6. Bill Cash is President of the European Foundation, a London-based think tank dedicated to Euro-realist policy analysis of European Union issues. Attendance by invitation-only. For information, please email

International Relations

To strengthen cooperation and forge closer links between Jeffersonian-minded individuals throughout the world for the achievement of free markets, limited government, and individual liberty.

ALEC members have always been outward looking and prepared to play a full role in world affairs. Free trade is central to ALEC’s vision of the way nation states should relate to each other. In order to fully realize a broad and deep free market that reaches across the Atlantic, we need to mobilize strong leadership from legislators on both sides, as well as our business communities. Now, more than ever, conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic need to continue their challenge to over-taxing, over-borrowing and over-governing. At both the Member States level and within the EU itself. ALEC’s unique public-private model is in the perfect position to bring about this public policy dialogue, with an eye to realizing a free, lively transatlantic economy.

Public Sector Chair: Rep. Harold Brubaker, North Carolina

Private Sector Chair: Kenneth Lane, Diageo North America, Inc.


Catherine Bray

Director of International Relations
and the Atlantic Bridge Project, bio

202-466-3800  ext. 237

Kamall 2007

ALEC and the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) co-hosted a discussion featuring distinguished guests Syed Kamall, a Conservative Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for London, and George Pieler, a Senior Research Fellow at IPI, on June 20th at ALEC’s Jefferson Conference Center in Washington, D.C. Both gentlemen discussed the cumbersome bureaucratic regulation of the European Union and their opposition to its protectionist economic policies that have burdened American companies and competitors across the world. In fact, Mr. Pieler has written extensively about the Microsoft case in which he asserts that the Europeans are anti-Microsoft for no clear reason other than that they are a large corporation and that large corporations are “bad.”
This dynamic discussion on contemporary international economic policy highlights ALEC’s rapidly growing international affairs program. ALEC’s international members, like their counterparts in the U.S., represent both the public and private sectors, with the majority of our public sector members serving in the European Parliament. Mr. Kamall, one of the first International ALEC members, is representative of his many conservative colleagues in Europe who oppose the European Constitution and the bureaucracy of Brussels that stymie free trade and free markets.
To learn more about ALEC’s International Relations program please visit us online at To learn more about the Institute for Policy Innovation please visit

When ALEC met the EU

eu usa
eu usa
eu usa
eu usa
eu usa

THE AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE EXCHANGE COUNCIL was represented by David RIVKIN, Partner, Baker & Hostetler LLP, Olivier GUITTA, Consultant, and Sally McNAMARA, International Relations Project Director.

Their main message was that the alliance between the United States and Europe should not be put at risk, because the global threat of terrorism required both close and decisive cooperation and this could be endangered by the issue investigated by the Council of Europe and the European Parliament.

Renditions were in this context a legitimate instrument, while torture or sending people to countries where it was more likely than not that torture would be used, was to be excluded. To date no concrete evidence of such actions had been forthcoming.

They also underlined that the whole issue was first and foremost a matter for the US Congress and not for a foreign parliament.

They then pointed out that many European legal provisions that deal with facing the terrorist threat were at least as strong as the American provisions such as the Patriot Act. They stressed that if the United States were obliged to comment on specific operations, clearly they would also have to divulge any involvement of friendly foreign services, which could be potentially embarrassing and even damage efficiency.


Alec in Europe

ALEC 2007

ALEC Catherin Bray

Helmer bollocks
Helmer more bollocks

Heaton Harris award

2008 – 2011

ALEC Claims the right to be consulted by the UN and to involve itself internationally

FOX 2008

Kamall 2008

Kamall 2009

ALEC and the UN


january 2010

MEP Daniel Hannan speaks at the American Legislative Exchange Council's 2009 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA, on the value of federalism on Friday, July 17.

Helmer 2010

Helmer 2010

Snus 2010

ALEC Tory Conference Report


Recent meetings:

All meetings will be held in the Salt Lake City Grand America unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, July 25

International Relations Task Force Meeting

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, July 26

International Relations
2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

International Relations Reception, by invitation only
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Wonder how many MEPs and MPs were in UTAH this July

Upcoming meetings:

upcoming meetings

The Conservative Party - Transparency

On the European Conservative Party website there is a section on ‘transparency’. According to a Guardian article from July 2011, though, the reaction of those under scrutiny is not 100% positive.

More widely, it has been interesting to see the reaction of the Tory MEPs to close scrutiny of their register of contacts with lobbyists. We seem to have hit a nerve. Roger Helmer, a prominent climate sceptic, used his blog to rail against Huhne’s “absurd and insulting” request for an investigation. Meanwhile, his colleague Julie Girling wrote to the Guardian, telling us not to “get too carried away”. And Dan
Hannan – who refuses to meet with lobbyists as a matter of principle – claims that the “most intense lobbying in advance of the [emissions target vote last month] came not from Big Energy, but from Greenpeace, Christian Aid and the WWF”.

Over at Conservative Home, Taxpayers’ Alliance chief Matthew Sinclair, claims the influence of lobbyists is “a longstanding environmentalist myth”.

All the MEPs we contacted suggested that the lobbyists had no influence on them.

The site looks wonderful, they list their obligations and the registers of members interests, provide links to other obligations. Well laid out easy to navigate, comprehensive, and worthless.

Conservative Transparency

On the right hand side "LOBBYING CONTACT REPORTS" by date, very useful if it works so let's compare information we have with information the Tories are supplying.

Fig: Here’s a list of attendees at an ALEC meeting on Thursday August 5, 2010


Here's Mr Callanan's Lobbying Report for 2010

Other in attendance at that meeting included:

Private Sector:
Ms. Brandie Davis (PMI) - Director, U.S. Affairs at Philip Morris International.
Mr. David Powers (Reynolds American, Inc.)
Mr. Toby Spangler (Altria)

Sarah Bowman
Bob Broadus (Allergan)
Roman Buhler
Representative Christopher Coutu (CT)
Mr. Herb Crenshaw (AT&T)
Jane Culhati
Anne Gauss (Embassy of Canada)
Peter Holran (TASER)
Emil Igwenagu
Marsha Kwalwasser (Northrop Grumman)
John Mast
Pat Murphy (TASER)
Maciej Olchawa (EU Parliament)
Jay O’Neil
Representative Jane P. Powdrell-Culbert (NM)
Vivian Rose
Martin Shultz (PinnacleWest)
Mr. Ed Suharto (Embassy of Indonesia to the US)
Faredah Ward

Here are some quotes from the Conservative Party European Election manifesto of 2009:

We will also make sure that our MEPs are committed to the highest standards in public life. - David Cameron

We’ve taken the lead in cleaning up EU politics, imposing the highest standards of transparency of any British political party upon ourselves and pushing for those standards to be adopted through the EU. - Timothy Kirkhope MEP, Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament


We have taken the lead in cleaning up politics in Westminster and in Europe. We believe that the way to address these problems is for the workings of politics and politicians to become completely transparent, so the public can see how we work and what we do. We will not rebuild trust in politics unless politicians are seen to be cleaning up their act. All Conservative MEPs have signed up to our ‘right to know’ regime, making them subject to
the most rigorous disclosure regime of their expenses of any national delegation in the European Parliament. We will encourage other MEPs to follow our lead, starting with our colleagues from the other British parties.
We will push for all EU institutions to be subject to maximum transparency on financial matters.
The European Commission should be subject to an enhanced Code of Conduct for Commissioners, including the requirement to list not only any gifts they receive (at present only those over €150) but also whom they are from, and to register all hospitality over €250, again with details of the donor

And the truth?

Conservative alliance increases opacity of travel reimbursements

By Gaspard Sebag | Thursday 24 May 2012

MEPs will not be obliged to declare reimbursement of accommodation and living expenses under €300 per day or economy class train, rail or boat tickets if invited to events linked to their parliamentary work. This second watering down of a provision relating to gifts in the new code of conduct for deputies was green-lighted by a Conservative alliance (EPP and ECR) in the European Parliament’s Bureau, on 21 May. Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, Sweden), a member of the advisory committee to assess conflicts of interest, points out that MEPs can therefore be invited on ten-day trips costing around €4,000 without declaring anything. Gerald Häfner (Greens-EFA, Germany), also on the committee, blasted the decision as “unacceptable” and called for it to “be brought on the agenda of the EP plenary as a whole with a view to ensuring it is overturned”.

To restore public trust after the ‘cash for amendments’ scandal (1), a huge majority of MEPs endorsed a code of conduct for deputies, which strengthened declarations of financial interests in view of increasing transparency on second jobs.

The code of conduct stipulates that gifts or similar benefits of over €150 have to be handed over to the administration or rejected (Article 5). However, following a modification by the plenary of the original draft presented in the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO), this provision was watered down. Thus, reimbursement of “direct costs” relating to participation in any event in line with parliamentary work upon invitation is not considered as a gift.

Now, as the EP Bureau sets out the implementing measures concerning this ‘gifts and reimbursement provision’, upon a proposal by the quaestors, a Conservative alliance (the EPP holds seven votes and ECR one) clawed back further on progress made toward increased transparency. “It seemed a lot like a show of strength from the EPP,” which wanted to show that despite losing the EP presidency seat it was still in control, says one parliamentary source. Wikström agrees with this assessment and says the message sent by the EPP is “we run this Parliament”.

The result is that MEPs will only have to declare reimbursement of accommodation and living costs higher or equal to €300 per day. Reimbursement of air travel needs to be made public only if seated in business class or above. The same applies for rail or boat travel if in first class or above. “It means that you can go on an economy trip, say to China, and then be accommodated in a five star hotel and you can [still] have more than €200 as a daily allowance, which means you would end up in a ten-day visit with somewhere around €4,000, which is a huge amount of money,” says Wikström. The advisory committee suggested that all expenses reimbursed by a third party should be declared.

Furthermore, under most circumstances, invitations coming from political parties and foundations, social partners, central, local or regional authorities, churches and other religious communities, EU institutions and international organisations are excluded from the field of application of Article 5. Finally, instead of going along with the suggestion of the advisory committee to declare reimbursement within 30 days of the event, the Bureau decided that this should be done “at least once a year”.


Wikström branded the quaestors’ proposal as “a complete disgrace” and lashed out at its author, long-standing deputy Astrid Lulling (EPP, Luxembourg). “She’s organising a lot of trips herself, she’s going on a lot of trips, being invited by various lobby groups. So maybe she doesn’t want anybody to look into these details.” Promising to bring the issue up in the ALDE group meeting, on 30 May, Wikström assured that she wants “by no means to forbid anybody to go on trips”. “But we would like to have an open, transparent procedure where people report what they do. Citizens and media are entitled to have knowledge on what their elected representatives are doing,” she added. 

(1) In March 2011, four MEPs were accused of accepting to table amendments for ‘clients’ after having been told by undercover reporters from The Sunday Times that such work would be compensated with money.

There was one MEP who took a particular interest in the 'Cash for Amendments' affair:

Unlike most of the Westminster MPs whose expenses claims were published by this newspaper, the MEPs were knowingly flouting the rules of their institution (“there is no way I can disclose this”, one said). If you can think of a more clear-cut form of malpractice than selling legislation for a fee, I should like to hear it. Revelations about MPs being reimbursed for saucepans and sofas came close to turning Britain into a 60-million-strong lynch mob. So what effect will this exposé have?

Virtually none, is my guess. The closest equivalent we have seen is this case – also involving cash for lawmaking, and also exposed by the Sunday Times undercover team. It was worse than any of the House of Commons revelations except, perhaps, those which involved the falsification of invoices, and which resulted in criminal prosecutions. Yet the whole scandal has been forgotten. The country still seethes about a duckhouse whose cost was never in fact reclaimed. But can you name the four Labour peers involved in the cash-for-amendments scandal? Did you even remember, until I jogged you just now, that there had been a cash-for-amendments scandal?

Our sense of outrage has become selective. We fume about relatively small sums claimed within the rules, but not about the deliberate subversion of the democratic process. What’s going on? Here, for what they’re worth, are my explanations.

First, timing. A minor peccadillo on a slow news day can destroy a politician’s career; but this case is competing with a war in Libya and the calamity that has overtaken Japan.

Second, no one has heard of these MEPs. Even in their home countries, Euro-MPs are virtually anonymous.

Third, Euro-corruption simply isn’t news any more. It ought to be, but it isn’t (see here).

Fourth, there is a limit to how many sleaze cases we can read about before our interest flags. Over the past couple of years, we have been saturated. Our eye registers the headline, and then skips to the next page. Which is a pity, since it means we no longer differentiate between minor infractions and cases of château-bottled malfeasance.

Fifth, the rights and wrongs of lobbying are complicated. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with approaching a lawmaker on someone else’s behalf. No one would think it immoral to see a constituent who was worried about, say, a wind-farm. Nor would most people object to a group of constituents, all of them worried about the wind farm, pooling their resources and hiring someone to make their case collectively. At what stage does the process become unethical?

I am uncomfortable trying to answer that question, so I don’t meet lobbyists at all. I am, I know, being tremendously unfair to the vast majority of people in the industry, who would never dream of behaving as the Sunday Times sting operatives did. But here’s the thing: most elected representatives will happily take up their constituents’ cases for nothing.

Precisely a year ago, I predicted that MEPs would be next in line for such a sting operation. Since then, to their credit, all Conservative MEPs have agreed to publish every meeting they hold with lobbyists: you can find the record here. Extending this practice across the European Parliament would help. Diffusing power, so that lobbyists were no longer drawn to the Brussels nexus, would be better still.

Daniel Hannan, Member of ALEC who doesn’t meet lobbyists 'at all' and who attacks other for knowingly flouting the rules.

We fume about relatively small sums claimed within the rules, but not about the deliberate subversion of the democratic process.

heaton harris expenses
Heaton-Harris demonstrating why the Conservative MEPs voted against more transparency.
 For completeness here are the declarations of the other MEP's on the ALEC International Task Force (we refrain from too much commenting as we haven't the required language skills to be sure that any allegations we might make would be arguable)

Adam Bielan, POLAND


Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 


Committee on Foreign Affairs
Delegation for relations with Japan
Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly

Bielan register

Michal Kaminski, POLAND


Committee on Development
Delegation for relations with the Mercosur countries
Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly


Committee on Foreign Affairs
Delegation to the EU-Armenia, EU-Azerbaijan and EU-Georgia Parliamentary Cooperation Committees
Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly

Kaminski register

Miroslaw Piotrowski, POLAND


Committee on Foreign Affairs
Delegation for relations with Japan


Committee on Regional Development
Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

Piotrowski register



Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
Delegation to the EU-Armenia, EU-Azerbaijan and EU-Georgia Parliamentary Cooperation Committees
Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly


Committee on Foreign Affairs
Committee on International Trade
Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee

Szymanski register

Philip Claeys, BELGIUM


Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Committee on Foreign Affairs
Delegation for relations with the United States

Claeys register

Christofer Fjellner, SWEDEN


Committee on International Trade
Delegation for relations with Belarus
Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly


Committee on Budgetary Control
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Delegation to the Cariforum — EU Parliamentary Committee
Delegation for relations with Iran

Fjellner register

Ivo STREJČEK, Czech Republic


Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
Delegation for relations with the People’s Republic of China


Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

Strejcek register

Liam Fox

Until October 2011 Fox was Secretary of State for Defence, as such he was required to submit details of

... interests relevant to Ministers‟ Ministerial responsibilities, not their parliamentary responsibilities. Therefore, the List of Ministers‟ Interests needs to be read alongside the two Parliamentary Registers and relevant information published by the Commission. However, because Ministers wield executive authority, the obligation on Ministers to disclose their relevant private interests goes beyond that required of Members of Parliament generally.

.....On appointment, Ministers are asked to notify their relevant interests in a number of categories.

6. Charities and Non-Public Organisations

Documents from ALEC show that Fox was still registered as a Member of their International Task Force until at least 30 June 2011:

members 30 june

ALEC were responsible for at least part of the funding of the Atlantic Bridge
The final Register of Ministers' Interests published which contained a declaration by Mr Fox was that of February 2011

Ministerial Interests

His Registers at the House of Commons mention both the AEI and ALEC as well as the Atlantic Bridge. AEI will be covered elsewhere but suffice to say that it is another of the myriad organisations funded by the usual suspects.

register Liam Fox

His current entry includes the following statement:
5. Gifts, benefits and hospitality (UK)

In my capacity as Shadow Foreign Secretary (2005-06) and Shadow Defence Secretary (from January 2006), I received upgrades from Virgin Atlantic on some flights connected with overseas visits for which I have met my own flight and accommodation costs. (The details of these overseas visits have been provided to the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.)

So it seems that despite all the talk of transparency it was not even possible for the electorate to know, by consulting the registers, that the Secretary of State for Defence was a member of a foreign lobbying group!

Liam Fox at ALEC (video) - Published on Jun 23, 2012 by

In October 2011 a Guardian article raises a series of questions. Acccording to PR Watch

In 2001, the American Legislative Exchange Council set up a sister charity by the same name, reportedly offered benefits to those donating to the British charity, and directly funded Fox’s Atlantic Bridge with at least $44,000 USD (£28,528 British pounds) in the past four years.

This article, in addition to raising many of the same points already discussed also references a Charity Commission report which was inadequate and the pressure resulted in a Supplementary report being released by the Charity Commission in March 2012

In October 2011 The Guardian ran an article ’Adviser’ Adam Werritty ran charity from Liam Fox’s office

In 2007, the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), a major US lobbying organisation for big corporations thought to include Philip Morris, Texaco and McDonalds, set up a sister charity also known as Atlantic Bridge, which then funded Fox’s organisation with £28,528 over the past four years, accounts show.

Alec did not answer enquiries about whether it funded the charity, but it has described it as “the latest component of its international relations programme” and appointed its director of international relations, Catherine Bray, to run it.

The Guardian runs a very brief description of the ALEC and mentions

The organisation signed a special partnership with the American Legislative Council (Alec), whose motto is “Limited government, free markets, federalism”.Overseen by Catherine Bray, a former adviser to the climate-change sceptic Roger Helmer.

The Guardian article further notes:

Alec’s involvement with Fox’s charity coincided with a large increase in funds to the US arm of his organisation. Accounts show that by 2009 the Atlantic Bridge was bringing in $280,508, more than double the $133,926 it was receiving in 2007.

On the Atlantic Bridge web site itself the links between it and ALEC were no secret:


26th July 2008


Dr Liam Fox, Chairman, The Atlantic Bridge


The Atlantic Bridge and American Legislative Exchange Council


Washington, DC and Chicago, Illinois

Transatlantic Leadership Exchange: 26th July through 2nd August 2008

The Transatlantic Leadership Exchange (formally referred to as the Young Leaders Programme) was established by The Atlantic Bridge with the aim of bringing together the next generation of up-and-coming "leaders" from both sides of the Atlantic for a cultural, political, and historical exchange programme. The ever-expanding group of "Trans-Atlantic Alumni" of the Transatlantic Leadership Exchange strengthen the "Special Relationship" and ensure that its enormous importance is never forgotten.

Over a week in the summer of 2008, over 20 promising leaders will experience American Government first hand, at the Federal level in Washington, DC and on the state level by attending the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

Chris Heaton-Harris

Mr Heaton-Harris is currently a Conservative MP but was an MEP prior to that and, as has been shown above, has a longstanding relationship with Mr Helmer in particular. His story, into which we are still digging, is more convoluted and more complicated than need be the case as will become apparent.

Karla and Chris

Karla linked-in
Leaving aside the rather strange entry listing ALEC under 'Construction Industry'(see Trillium below) let's turn to the additional information: Daventry Calling!

hh linkedin
Isn't that cosy.

The entry in the House of Commons Register which, despite protestations from the right about the lack of accountability in Brussels, requires less information than is required of MEP's!

Expenses Heaton-Harris 1

Expenses Heaton-Harris 2

Although limited in nature the items we have highlighted were enough to take us on a journey half way around the world and we are still going. As you will see the difficulties we have encountered are typical of the methods used by those involved in fraud, money-laundering and other criminal activities starting with the incorrect address of the Legislative Leadership Institute as given by Mr Heaton-Harris, names of persons involved having vowels changed, differing ways of entering the names of organisations into official databases, referring to the same organisation by more than one name, changing the names of organisations etc etc. In isolation they could be put down to transcription errors but taken as a whole it is indicative of a pattern of behaviour that is not unusual to investigators.


David Cameron’s campaign manager for the Corby by-election was secretly behind the campaign of a rival candidate who ran against the Conservatives on an anti-clean energy platform.

Tory MP running Corby campaign 'backed rival in anti-windfarm plot'


Legislative Leadership Institute, Wisconsin

The only piece of information we had at the start was their address from the register:  Suite 106, 721 Cardinal Lane so that's where we started searching.

Trillium map
Apparently we have arrived at a job agency.

However by looking just slightly further afield, next door to be precise, we find the Legislative Leadership Institute.
LLI Taxpayer network
The above graphic shows that the Legislative Leadership Institute is seemingly a part of the Taxpayers Network; the email address they give is a TPN email address
Note the name given for the Principal: Amy Polesky.


The additional address given above, 4719 Reed Rd Columbus, takes us to a mail drop-off which may or may not be what is being referred to 
mail drop

David Steffen

 The Link between ALEC and the Legislative Leadership Institute

Amy Polasky / Polesky


If you're wondering why there are 2 Taxpayers Networks we can see from the next 2 images that the inforamtion provided in Florida is different to that held in Texas.


Legislative Leadership Institute, Dublin

LLI Dublin 1


Bertie Ahern, T.D.
Dáil Éireann, Republic of Ireland

General Tommy Franks ( Ret.)
United States of America

First Lady Jeannette Kagame
Republic of Rwanda

The American College

Lynn 1
The Founding: Set up by Lynn University

Irish American College
irish American Union graduation

Other 'Graduates'

Jim Walsh
Jim walsh

Travel gifts from nonprofit political group helped California senator earn master’s degree

State Sen. Rod Wright owns a master’s degree today thanks largely to a nonprofit political organization that gave him nearly $30,000 in gifts of travel, including trips to Switzerland and Ireland.

But the key question … is why a Wisconsin nonprofit would want to pay Wright’s $30,000 tab and whether the group’s donors, which are not a matter of public record under California law, are receiving any benefit from their gift.

“It’s an opportunity for somebody to be inappropriately influencing a legislator by hiding behind a nonprofit,” Cressman said. “We simply don’t know if that’s the case. And that’s the problem.”

The group’s leadership has a decidedly business bent and substantive ties with current or former Republican politicians. President Amy Polasky, a former lobbyist, did not return numerous calls seeking comment.

The institute says its master’s degree was offered in partnership with Irish American University – a Dublin-based college licensed by the state of Delaware, with U.S. accreditation pending before the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The class featured three students from Ireland, two from Rwanda and one from the United Kingdom. The institute’s leader, Polasky, also graduated with the class as did Robert Wood from its lobbying firm, BGR Group, founded by former Mississippi Republican Gov. Haley Barbour.

Polasky was a lobbyist, about a decade ago, for the Council for Affordable Health Insurance, representing insurance carriers, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics.

BGR Group, in a federal disclosure statement, said Polasky’s leadership institute formerly was named Taxpayers Network Inc., whose website says its goal is to generate policy discussions about taxation, education, Social Security, retirement programs, government expenditures and other issues.

The institute does not employ lobbyists or make campaign donations to state lawmakers in California, but it has spent $100,000 to lobby the federal government the past two years. Its predecessor, Taxpayers Network, spent $580,000 on federal lobbying from 2003 through 2010, records show.

No tax returns are available for the leadership institute, but the Taxpayer Network’s 2010 return identified its three top administrators as Polasky; Katherine Pippy, wife of the Republican senator who graduated from the master’s class; and Cate Zeuske, a former Wisconsin GOP legislator and state treasurer who now runs an advocacy group for Wisconsin’s small businesses and farmers.

Who Really Runs the Course?

SPN Education
The State Policy Network has at least one member in every state

The Taxpayers Network Incorporated doesn't sound too much like an educational charity in any accepted sense of the word.

TNI Scholarships
Application for scholarship funding

virtual office
 The Scholarship Office

Prospectus amy

The Taxpayers Network / Legislative Leadership Institute - Lobbying Activities

lobby report
lobby report 3
lobby report 4
lobby report
lobby report
lobby report
lobby report
lobby report

Robert (Bob) Wood worked as Gov. Tommy Thompson’s 1998 campaign manager, and led the state’s George W. Bush presidential campaign in 2000. 

Bob’s political experience also includes serving as Thompson’s chief of staff, both during his duration as Governor of Wisconsin and later when Thompson became Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). As chief of staff to Secretary Thompson, he also served as the Department’s chief liaison to other federal departments, governors and the White House.

bgr london


The Bowhay Institute

Bowhay Institute
Bowhat institute
Maybe the Council of State Governments is in some way unique?
sllf 2


One of Heaton-Harris' donors for his trip of 4-8 October 2011 to meet the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan is a company called ECN Ltd., a PR Consultancy.

green street


How much time would the Prime Minister have for Heaton-Harris given the KIOGE?


The Fake 'Education' Industry


toll fellowship




Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (and cheaper than thinking for yourself)

Above we have discussed how 'educational' programmes are being used in the USA as a method of bypassing all controls and oversight in order to ensure that corporations and individuals of high worth can get the politicians and the political process under their control. Now we will illustrate that the same practices are being carried out in the UK; you will no doubt recognise many of the names by now.

The Young Britons' Foundation

The Young Britons’ Foundation was entirely inspired by the success, drive and spirit of the American conservative movement.

First introduced to organisations such as the American Conservative Union, the Young America’s Foundation, the Leadership Institute, Collegiate Network and the Heritage Foundation at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), it was clear to co-founder Donal Blaney and Greg Smith that Britain was behind in the training and development of younger political activists.

YBF has recognized the generosity of the following individuals who are YBF’s Founder Donors. Without their generosity, YBF would not have been able to have been formed:

·       Kevin Fallon

·       John & Laura Midgeley

·       Paul Osborn

·       Paul Shea

·       Tom Scott

·       Chris Walsh

·       Sarkis Zeronian


Yes 'philosophically sound' is the phrase they use and you may also note that they are interested in getting schools involved. You may recognise the President of this organisation:

hannan el presidente

What do 'non-partisan' organisations such as the YBF offer? One of YBF's major US partners is the Leadership Institute


Far more attractive to UK students, and to those wishing to entice them into the movement, are the US activities, offered with 'substantial' subsidies:


No doubt these subsidised trips for conservative activists will give them good experience for all the undeclared trips they will make by following in the footsteps of Mr Hannan et al.


Look at the scale of this activity!

100,000 conservative activists 'trained'

a network of 1400 groups and publications

all those who take part have their details distributed to other conservative organisations 

Who is behind the Leadership Institute?


The activities to which the British participants have been invited include


Nice to note the substantial subsidies, we wonder how many of those donating are receiving tax relief on their donations, maybe through donating via US 501(c)(3) bodies who then subsidise UK students?


Earlier we raised the issue of language when we commented on the use of the phrase 'philosophically sound' are any of you as struck by the overtones of the following sentences?

YBF identifies, trains, mentors and places philosophically sound activists in politicas, academis and the media.

The Leadership institute identifies, recruits, trains and places conservatives in the public policy process.



The Agenda for CPAC 2011
Michele Bachmann
Grover Norquist Let Freedom Ring;
The Tea Party and the Political Landscape
Newt Gingrich America At Risk: The War With No Name
Donald Trump
Rand Paul
Recipient: The Hon. Donald Rumsfeld Defender of the Constitution Award
Mitt Romney
Using School Choice and Homeschools to Grow the Conservative Movement
Herman Cain
Bleeding America Dry: The Threat of Public Sector Unions
Pat Boone Recipient: Lifetime Achievement Award


Looking to the future:


Legal Actions and Ethics Complaints in the USA

This section is included for 2 reasons:

- to show that in the US there is concern about the very practices which are being ignored, and actively obscured by officials, in the UK and the EU
- to show that we lack in the UK any comparable way of bringing our corrupt politicians to answer for their activities as illustrated by the way the expenses scandal, David Laws, Jeremy Hunt and the Atlantic Bridge were handled.
Various people associated with na-Saighneain and supporters of the project have, over recent months contacted:

UK Parliamentary Ombudsman
Charity Commission
European Parliamentary Ombudsman
President of the European Parliament
Newspapers and Journalists
UK Government Ministries and Departments
Lobbying Groups
Electoral Commission

almost without exception they are complacent, toothless, uninterested or ignorant and, unfortunately, many of them seem to be content that this should continue which is why we have already been sending all the information we have collected to the US for use in the growing number of lawsuits and complaints being brought in the USA.

Complaint by the Center for Media and Democracy

evidence 10

External Links:

ALEC Exposed
Beveridge Report
Center for Media & Democracy
Company Check
Conservative Home
Corporate Europe Observatory
European Parliament
Federal Election Commission (US)
FOIA Centre
Follow the Money
Global Integrity Report
Government Innovators' Network (US)
Ideas Economic Database
Manta Company Search
Media Manipulation
No. 10
Open Corporates
Open Rights Group
Open Secrets
Parliament UK
Project Vote Smart
Publish What You Pay
State Surge
Talking Points Memo
Tobacco Documents Library
Unedited Politics (US)
World Top Incomes Database