GMA fined $18 million for money laundering

This article was originally published in December 2016

The $18 million penalty against the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), issued in November, is the largest fine for a campaign-finance violation ever in American history.

The case, State v. Grocery Manufacturers Association, investigated how GMA bankrolled the “No” campaign against a 2013 Washington state initiative to label genetically engineered foods, I-522. Washington’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, said GMA solicited and collected more than $11 million from member companies, put the money in a secret “Defense of Brands” account, and used it to oppose I-522 — without disclosing the source of the contributions or who was behind the “No” campaign.

Ferguson said, “GMA needed to be held accountable for its arrogance and willful disregard of Washington state campaign finance laws.”

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