US grocery lobby guilty of money laundering

A superior court judge found the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) guilty of acting to conceal the names of companies that donated to a controversial campaign.

The campaign was to oppose legislation that would have required the labelling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) in Washington in 2013.

According to the summary ruling, the GMA, the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies, was found guilty of violating Washington state’s public campaign finance laws.

It accepted $14 million in donations from its members for its “Defense of Brands fund” and then donated $11 million to its “No on 522” campaign without disclosing the original donors.

The funds were used to lobby against proposed legislation (Initiative 522) that would have required GMO labelling.