Friday, October 25, 2013

Junk Food Lobby Forced to Disclose Donors to Its Secret 'Defense of Brand Strategic Account' | Michele Simon

Junk Food Lobby Forced to Disclose Donors to Its Secret 'Defense of Brand Strategic Account' | Michele Simon:

"This is the largest amount of money ever concealed in an election," says Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, as tobacco-style tactics by likes of PepsiCo and Nestle are revealed in Washington State's lawsuit against the Grocery Manufacturers Association over GMO labeling fight.
Just a few weeks ago, attorneys for the No on 522 campaign were feeling rather smug when a lawsuit filed against them by a group called "Moms for Labeling" was dismissed. AsI wrote last week, consumer class action attorney Knoll Lowney sued the No on 522 and the Washington, D.C.-based Grocery Manufactures Association (lobbyists for major food corporations) for not disclosing the donors behind GMA's $7 million-plus donation to stop I-522, which would require genetically-engineered foods to be labeled. The judge threw out that case on a technicality.
But then, Big Food's arrogance got the best of them.
Last Wednesday, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson picked up where the Moms for Labeling lawyer left off by filing his own complaint, which adds stunning detail to the allegations in the original suit. In case you're not familiar with what the attorney general does, he or she is the state's top law enforcer, but often has limited resources to act. So when the AG's office decides to come after you, it's a very big deal, far bigger than a private attorney doing so.
The new lawsuit also accuses GMA of violating the state's campaign disclosure laws, and alleges that the trade group secretly gathered more than $7 million from its members. Not content to just collect food industry money illegally, or even discreetly, GMA had the chutzpah to a designate a special account dubbed the "Defense of Brand Strategic Account," for a strategic, "multi-pronged approach" to fight labeling laws, including Washington's I-522.

No comments:

Post a Comment