The National Foreign Trade Council is considering filing suit to challenge the constitutionality of the Illinois law requiring public pension funds in the state to divest investments in companies with ties to Sudan.
The council, which has 300 member companies, mostly large multinationals, promotes policies that foster open international trade and investment.
J. Daniel O'Flaherty, vice president of the Washington-based organization, met in Chicago with executives of regional members of the council to discuss the prospect of filing a suit over the Illinois law. The suit would challenge the state's authority to make foreign policy by imposing economic sanctions. The U.S. Constitution gives that authority exclusively to the federal government, he said.
If the group files — and it could make a decision in six weeks — it would be in U.S. District Court in Chicago, Mr. O'Flaherty said.
The Illinois law went into effect Jan. 27, giving the public pension plans in the state 18 months to divest completely of their Sudan-related holdings.
The council filed suit against Massachusetts in the late 1990s over state procurement law banning state purchases from companies doing business with Myanmar, Mr. O'Flaherty noted. The council prevailed in court rulings, including the U.S. Supreme Court, which declared the Massachusetts law unconstitutional.