– “AG: Grocery Manufacturers Assoc. to pay $18M, largest campaign finance penalty in US history”
“In a historic decision, a Thurston County Superior Court judge today [Nov. 2] ordered the Grocery Manufacturers Association to pay $18 million in penalties and punitive damages, after Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit revealed GMA intentionally violated Washington campaign finance laws. The case arose from Ferguson’s investigation of the finances of opposition to voter Initiative 522, which would have required labeling of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in food sold to consumers.
“In light of all the evidence in the record, it is not credible that GMA executives believed that shielding GMA’s members as the true source of contributions to GMA’s Defense of Brands Account was legal,” Judge Anne Hirsch wrote in her ruling.
The ruling against GMA — a Washington, D.C.-based trade group representing major food, beverage and consumer companies — is believed to constitute the largest campaign finance judgment in United States history,” quoting the Washington Office of the Attorney General, Bob Ferguson.