Foes of Initiative 522 — the ballot measure seeking to require labels on genetically engineered foods — still have more than a month to go before they’ll know whether their anti-labeling arguments will prevail at the ballot box.
But already, they’ve won top honors in at least one Washington election category: raising money against a statewide initiative.
As of late Monday, the No on 522 Committee’s funding totals surged to $17.2 million, according to the latest campaign-finance reports filed with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission.
The new total has shattered the state record for most money raised in opposing a statewide ballot measure, PDC figures show. The previous record was set in 2011 by opponents of the liquor-sales privatization Initiative 1183.
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The more than $20 million raised for the 2011 campaign to privatize liquor sales, bankrolled by Costco and other retailers, tops the PDC’s list for the most money raised for an initiative campaign.
Meantime, the Yes on I-522 Committee received another $500,000 donation from Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, the latest reports show. That brings the pro-labeling side’s funding totals to $4.8 million.
When combining totals for both campaigns, the $21.9 million in contributions raised so far in the I-522 race has surged into second place all-time in Washington for collective money raised in a ballot-measure campaign.
Initiative 522 would require food producers to disclose on the front of food packages whether some foods were produced using genetically engineered ingredients.
Largely bankrolled by five out-of-state corporations and a trade group, the No campaign’s totals jumped this week behind a single $5 million contribution from the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
The GMA, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group for the food industry, is now the single biggest contributor to the No campaign, collectively donating $7.2 million to date. Biochemical companies Monsanto and Dupont Pioneer have donated $4.8 million and $3.2 million respectively, records show.
Dr. Bronner’s, the California-based soap company, is the pro-labeling campaign’s largest donor, in all giving about $2 million to the Yes camp so far.