Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline, issued this statement regarding Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s announcement of a record $18 million fine to the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) for violating the state’s campaign disclosure laws.

“This penalty was appropriate and necessary, a fitting punishment for an organization that waged a conscious, covert campaign to sabotage an overwhelmingly popular voter initiative that would have dispelled much of the mystery surrounding the production of foods we eat.

“This is a textbook case of corporate abuse of power and privilege. The initiative to label genetically engineered foods had 66 percent public support before the GMA funneled $11 million through a secret account that hid the source of the contributions and who was behind the ‘no’ campaign. The resulting media avalanche, the most expensive campaign in state history, narrowly defeated the initiative, 51 to 49 percent. The public was steamrolled.

“It is my hope that this fine will send a resounding message to corporate criminals who think their deep pockets give them a license to deceive the public. Washingtonians want honest, transparent elections. We passed our election laws to ensure that, and this fine proves our state will not look the other way at those who would wantonly break those laws.”