- Associated Press - Friday, June 27, 2014

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The campaign committee behind last fall’s food-labeling initiative must pay a $4,000 fine for not reporting until after the election thousands of dollars of assistance from other groups.

The Daily Herald reported ( https://tinyurl.com/pulsvud ) that state Public Disclosure Commission imposed the penalty on the Yes on I-522 Committee for failure to disclose nearly $118,000 of in-kind contributions made by PCC Natural Markets, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps.

Commissioners approved the fine Thursday as part of a settlement.

An investigation found that the bulk of the contributions involved came from the ice cream maker in the form of $2,000 worth of free ice cream at a campaign event and $95,000 worth of ads endorsing the measure, which voters ultimately rejected.

Committee representatives said a clerical error led to the failure to report those in-kind contributions.

“There was no attempt at concealment,” Jim Frush, an attorney for Yes on I-522, told commissioners. “We’re very apologetic for the oversight.”

Initiative 522, which would have required labeling of foods and beverages containing genetically modified ingredients, lost by a margin of 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent.

About $20 million was spent by opposing sides in the campaign. The Yes on I-522 Committee reported nearly $8 million in expenditures, of which $600,000 came from in-kind contributions.

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