State AG sues food industry group over I-522

SEATTLE — Washington’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit accusing a food industry group of violating state campaign finance laws.

The office of Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a filing Wednesday that the Grocery Manufacturers Association improperly collected and spent more than $7 million while shielding the identities of contributors. The food industry has been working to defeat Initiative 522 that would require labeling on genetically modified foods.

Much of the money used in the campaign to oppose I-522 has come from the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Ferguson said the association improperly established a special account that would be used to oppose the initiative when the organization should have formed a separate political committee that would require increased disclosure.

Voters will decide on I-522 next month.

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