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Spin Control

The big wallets in the initiative campaigns

OLYMPIA — The first ballot initiative turned in its petitions today, which may be the first of about a half dozen that will be rolling in to the Secretary of State’s office between now and July 2.

Initiative 1100 collected about 390,000 signatures in 27 days, which is pretty remarkable by historic standards. Not a record, to be sure, but remarkable, considering the averaged more than 14,400 per day or 600 per hour or 10 per minute (and that’s only if they were gathering round the clock, and obviously they weren’t because Costco, a key location for their collection, has to close some time.)

Other campaigns may have similar numbers, proving that sponsors will be able to wait until late into the spring before starting a petition drive if…

…if they have enough money to pay people to gather signatures. Some people will argue that’s not what the Progressives intended when they added the initiative to the state Constitution, but that’s an argument for another day.

The point is, money is flowing into the initiative campaigns, mainly from corporations, industry association and unions who stand to gain or lose if voters pass these initiatives. Already there is one seven-figure donor and 10 six figure donors to the initiative campaigns.

For a list of the top donors, go inside the blog


1. American Beverage Association, $1,723,500, to the I-1107 campaign (would repeal taxes imposed by this spring on soda, bottled water, candy and some processed foods)

2. Costco, $842,121, to the I-1100 campaign (would end state liquor stores and open the door for private retailers to sell hard liquor in their stores.)

3. Youngs Market Company LLC, $530,00, to I-1105 campaign (would end state liquor stores and require stores to buy from wholeslaers and distributors; they’re a wholesaler.)

4. Building Industry Association of Washington, $505,941, to I-1082 (would add private insurance companies to the state’s current system of worker’s compensation.)

5. Odom Southern Holdings LLC, $334,000, to I-1105 campaign (See note on Youngs Market at No. 3)

6. Liberty Mutual Group, $300,000, to I-1082 (see note on No. 4)

7. SEIU Healthcare 775 NW, $175,135 to I-1098 (would add a state income tax for people who make more than $200,000 a year.)

8. SEIU Washington Northwest Council, $171,000 to I-1098 (see not on No. 7)

9. Washington State Association for Justice, $100,000 against I-1082 (see note on No. 4; attorneys oppose the measure because it could limit claims, this group was formerly known as the state Trial Lawyers Association)

10. Stop Insurance Industry Takeovers, $100,000 against I-1082 (see note on No. 7; this is a PAC funded by No. 9 and lawyers around the state.)

11. Gates, William H., $100,000, to I-1098 (See note on No. 7; Gates is campaign leader.)

Another 33 organizations or individuals have spent five figures on the campaigns. For more information on contributions to the initiative campaigns click here to go to the PDC Web site.


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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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