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Costco is the state's second-largest donor to an initiative -- ever
Posted by Melissa Allison
Costco Wholesale’s $11 million in contributions to Initiative 1183 make it the second-largest single donor to a ballot measure in state history, according to the State Public Disclosure Commission.
The largest was the American Beverage Association, which last year contributed $16.7 million to support I-1107, a measure voters approved that repealed legislative tax increases on candy, gum, bottled water and soda pop.
Costco replaces itself in the No. 2 slot, which it gained last year by donating $4.8 million to the campaign for Initiative 1100. Like this year’s I-1183, that measure would have privatized the state’s liquor business and deregulated the system in a way that alcohol distributors did not like.
Before last year’s election, the Public Disclosure Commission found only two instances in which a single donor had given more than $1 million to a voter initiative.
Last year, four donors passed that mark, including the American Beverage Association and Costco. The others were the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association, which each gave $2.4 million to help defeat Costco’s liquor initiative.
Altogether, the opposition to the liquor initiative last year raised $9.2 million.
This year, liquor, wine and beer distributors have put up $6.8 million to fight I-1183, the bulk of the opposition’s $7.4 million so far.
Costco is by far the largest donor to the pro-1183 campaign, which has raised $11.2 million.
The door closes on big donations next Tuesday.
From Oct. 18 until the Nov. 8 — the deadline for mailing in ballots — no contributor can give more than $5,000 to an initiative. Campaigns can go in debt and ask donors after the election to help them pay it off.
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