The effort to protect Washington State from Costco’s newest liquor privatization scheme (Initiative 1183, which will be in the November ballot) has just received a massive resource boost from a powerful national trade organization.
Last week, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America wrote Protect Our Communities (the campaign to defeat I‑1183) a series of checks totaling $3.6 million. The contributions represent more than ninety-five percent of the total raised, with the remainder coming from organized labor and the Democratic Party.
The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America say they oppose Costco’s Initiative 1183 because it “is designed to disable an effective regulatory structure that balances consumer demand with appropriate control over the distribution of alcohol and the licensed players in the Washington state market.”
The wholesalers’ statement also noted: “A similarly ill-considered deregulatory initiative backed by Costco was rejected just last year, but they have chosen to ignore the message delivered by the citizens of that state and their elected representatives who drafted legislation to allow for limited privatization while maintaining strong regulatory control.”
In 2010, Protect Our Communities successfully defeated two liquor privatization schemes with the help of the beer industry, which wrote multiple seven-figure checks to finance an extremely effective campaign that hit the airwaves early.
Costco and its alcohol profiteer allies can hardly complain about the contributions. After all, their initiative is no grassroots uprising; they bought the signatures they needed (either with outright cash or with in-kind labor) and they will doubtless put up more money to fund their own advertising campaign in the autumn.
NPI strongly opposes Initiative 1183 and urges supporters and readers to stop greed by voting NO on 1183 this October or November.