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March 1, 2017

Posted  March 1, 2017

The Grocery Manufacturers Association was ordered to pay nearly $1.1 million in costs and fees stemming from the Washington Attorney General’s campaign finance lawsuit. GMA has previously been penalized $18 million for its intentional violations of Washington law, the largest campaign finance judgment in history. Judge Anne Hirsch ordered GMA to pay the state’s requested attorney fees, which she held to be “reasonable and appropriate,” as well as litigation and investigation costs. 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. Ferguson filed the lawsuit against GMA in October 2013. In March 2016, Judge Hirsch granted the Attorney General’s Motion for Summary Judgment and ruled that GMA violated state campaign finance laws when it failed to register and report its political committee, which opposed I-522. GMA was identified as the largest contributor to the “No on 522” political committee in campaign disclosure filings. However, over 30 members of GMA actually financed the opposition campaign through a special, earmarked account but were not initially identified as individual donors. WA