The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) was ordered to pay $18 million in an adverse judgement for illegally structuring contributions to oppose a GM labeling initiative in Washington State. In addition, the association was ordered to pay $1.1 million in legal fees.
According to testimony, GMA provided $14 million to a campaign to defeat Initiative 522 in Washington State.
Contributors to the Defensive Brands account included PepsiCo contributing $3 million and Coca-Cola and Nestle, $2 million each. The GMA established the Defensive Brands account to shield the identity of contributors to the campaign.
In a judgement, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Anne Hirsch ruled that GMA intentionally contravened state campaign finance laws.