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Public Disclosure Commission has updated list of I-522 contributions

A lot of money is pouring into Washington by opponents and supporters of I-522, the initiative that would require labeling of genetically modified foods or ingredients.

To look at the money raised to oppose the initiative by its main lobbyist, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, check out the state's Public Disclosure Commission site at this link.  All of the more than $11 million raised by the GMA will go to help the committee calling itself the No On 522 group.

The No on 522 group's contributions against I-522 come to more than $20 million.

The main committee supporting the initiative, Organic Consumers Fund Committee to Label GMOS in Washington State, has raised more than $780,000 to date. A listing of all the main committees for or against the initiative are here.

 

AP: Ferguson suing anti GMO labeling donor

Attorney General Bob Ferguson held a press conference this morning to announce a lawsuit against a group that has given some $7 million to the campaign against Initiative 522. Here's an updated report from Mike Baker of the Associated Press:

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington’s attorney general accused a food industry group Wednesday of violating state campaign finance laws for how it collected and spent more than $7 million to oppose a food labeling initiative…

 

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GMO alert: AG sues Manufacturers Association, claiming campaign violation

Dateline Olympia:

Washington AG Bob Ferguson on Wednesday filed suit in Thurston County Superior Court, claiming the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) raised and spent campaign money to oppose Initiative 522 without identifying its contributors.

That violates campaign disclosure laws, Ferguson's office said in the suit.

The claim in the suit is that the GMA illegally collected more than $7 million while hiding who the money came from.

Those funds were spent to publicly oppose the initiative, which if passed would force companies that sell genetically engineered foods, seeds and seed products to identify  those products on their labels.

A recent SR story noted that out-of-state interests on both sides of I-522 are raising large sums: It said “In this high-stakes battle, the Yes on I-522 campaign has collected more than $4.6 million in contributions and the No on I-522 campaign more than $17.1 million.”

Ferguson's press release Wednesday said: “When Washington state voters overwhelming approved Initiative 276 in 1972, they voiced their desire for transparency and openness in elections. Truly fair elections demand all sides follow the rules by disclosing who their donors are and how much they are spending to advocate their views.”

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, based Washington, D.C., represents more than 300 food, beverage and consumer product companies. It is the biggest donor to the No on I-522 campaign.

The Attorney General’s Office alleges the GMA established the “Defense of Brands Strategic Account” within its organization and asked members to pay assessments that would be used to oppose I-522. GMA then funded opposition efforts while shielding contributors’ names from public disclosure.

Ferguson alleges the GMA should have formed a separate political committee, registered with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission (PDC), and filed reports indicating who contributed, how much they contributed and how the money was spent to oppose I-522.

I-522 fight over pet food

The opening salvo in the battle over the proposal to label genetically modified foods includes ammunition that hit the mark last year in California: Food you buy for Rover would have to be labeled if it contains those products, recent commercials for opponents say, but steaks you throw on the grill would not.

Wrong on both counts, say supporters of Initiative 522. Pet food isn't covered by the initiative, but genetically modified meats, would have to be labeled – if they ever reach the local supermarket.

Each campaign can produce legal theories of the state’s complicated initiative case law to support their claims. The Yes campaign has mounted a response ad which the No campaign is actively rebutting.

The average voter might wonder whether it’s worth fighting about…

 

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Today’s fun video: Taking on Monsanto

 

Daily Show takes on Monsanto in its fight with farmers over seeds.

Which makes it kind of interesting that many farmers are siding with Monsanto in the current campaign over genetically engineered foods and Initiative 522.

No on I-522 money flooding in from out of state

OLYMPIA – In another sign that Washington will be the national battleground this fall over genetically altered foods, opponents of a ballot measure requiring those products to be labeled raised almost $1 million last month.

None of it came from Washington state. . .

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