business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports that Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has announced that the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has agreed to provide the names of the companies that have helped to finance a $7 million campaign designed to defeat a state initiative that would mandate the labeling of products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The GMA decision means that the state will not have to go ahead with a lawsuit that was filed with the intention of forcing the trade association to disclose the names.

According to the story, "The GMA board voted to register as a political committee and file the required documents on their effort to oppose Initiative 522. Initiative 522 is a measure requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods, seeds, and seed products in Washington. The GMA will create a separate political committee, register it with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission, and file reports indicating who contributed, how much they contributed, and how the money was spent to oppose I-522.  When the reports are filed, the public can view them on the PDC’s website."

“The people of Washington demand transparency in elections,” Ferguson said. “I’m pleased the GMA board recognized their responsibility to disclose the names of companies who contributed to opposing Initiative 522, and the amount of their contributions.”

And GMA released the following statement: “In the spirit of continuing cooperation and in an effort to provide Washington voters with full transparency about GMA’s funding for the ‘No on 522’ campaign, the association has decided to voluntarily establish a Washington state political committee and to file reports with the PDC disclosing the source of all funds used in connection with Washington state elections."
KC's View:
The broader message to every company and organization, I believe, is that if you oppose transparency, if you look to operate in the shadows, if you look to prevent the dissemination of information, you are going to find yourself on the wrong side of history. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon...

We are living in a transparency-driven world, and organizations better get used to it.