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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Washington AG: Grocery Manufacturers Association agrees to disclose financing

By Nick Rees | Oct 21, 2013

SEATTLE, Wash. (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Friday the Grocery Manufacturers Association will disclose the financing of its campaign opposing Initiative 522.

The GMA agreed to file reports with the Public Disclosure Commission and to produce information related to contributions made by its members by close of business on Friday.

Initiative 522 would require the labeling of genetically engineered foods, seeds and seed products in Washington.

A suit filed on Wednesday by Ferguson in Thurston County Superior Court alleged that the GMA was in violation of the state's campaign disclosure laws by illegally collecting and spending more than $7 million and shielding its donors' identities.

"The people of Washington demand transparency in elections," Ferguson said. "I'm pleased the GMA board recognized their responsibility to disclose the names of companies who contributed to opposing Initiative 522 and the amount of their contributions."

The GMA's board voted to register as a political committee and filed required documents as part of their objection to Initiative 522. A separate political committee will be registered by the GMA with the state's Public Disclosure Commission.

The group will also file reports showing who contributed and how much they contributed, as well as how the money was spent opposing the initiative. After the reports are filed, the public will be able to view them on the PDC's website.

The decision by the GMA board eliminates any need by Ferguson's office to seek a temporary restraining order to force GMA to comply with state campaign finance laws.

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