The Grocery Manufactures Association is vowing to “pursue its legal options” following a Washington State court-ordered fine of $18 million regarding campaign financing. The fine stems from an opposition campaign by GMA against the state’s 2013 GMO labeling ballot initiative. The measure failed with 49 percent of the vote after the food industry spent more than $17 million on an opposition campaign. The Seattle Times Reports a state judge ruled the association illegally concealed the source of contributions to the campaign and ordered GMA to pay the record penalty for campaign finance law violations. In a following statement, the association said: “GMA believes that there is no basis in law or fact to support this unprecedented, inequitable and clearly excessive penalty.” The association further alleges Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s “crusade” against the association “has been a centerpiece of his fundraising appeals and re-election effort,” while vowing to contest the fine.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.
From: Grocery Manufactures Association
The Grocery Manufacturers Association released the following statement on the ruling in Washington State:
“GMA believes that there is no basis in law or fact to support this unprecedented, inequitable and clearly excessive penalty – nearly 18 times higher than any other Washington State public disclosure fine. The court’s decision ignores uncontradicted testimony and uncontroverted evidence that GMA reasonably believed, after being advised by multiple outside attorneys, that it was complying at all times with Washington State law. GMA’s decision to disclose the association itself, rather that its members, as a contributor to the “No on 522” campaign in 2013 was at most an inadvertent technical violation of the State’s vague and complex disclosure law that was being handled as a routine matter by the Public Disclosure Commission until Attorney General Ferguson seized control shortly before the 2013 election to further his personal political ambitions. Attorney General Ferguson’s continuing crusade against GMA has been a centerpiece of his fundraising appeals and re-election effort. GMA intends to vigorously pursue its legal options to correct this injustice.”