Grocery Manufacturers Association agrees to disclose donors

OLYMPIA — The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has agreed to disclose the names of donors who are helping fund the No on I-522 campaign, the Washington State’s Attorney General’s Office said Friday, just days after the attorney general alleged the group was failing to adhere to public finance laws by keeping its donors secret.

grocery store milkThe attorney general’s office said the GMA’s decision to disclose its financiers means the office will no longer seek a court injunction on the group. The GMA has reportedly agreed to release its members’ contribution numbers by the end of the day Friday.

Initiative 522 — a measure requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods — is a hotly contested issue in the state, and holds records for campaign finance spending.  The GMA is the largest donor opposing I-522, and has raided more than $7 million for the anti-labeling effort.

The state attorney general accused the GMA of skirting public disclosure laws earlier this week. Previously, representatives from the GMA said they were “surprised” to learn they were doing anything “improper.”

Once the reports of members’ contributions are filed Friday, they will be available for public viewing on the Public Disclosure Commission website. State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the move is a step toward informing voters in Washington.

“The people of Washington demand transparency in elections,” Ferguson said.

GMA is a trade association based in Washington DC that represents more than 300 food and beverage companies.

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