Issaquah, Wash. — Costco Wholesale's donations to a Washington state voter initiative that would legalize liquor sales by private retailers have broken state records, according to published reports.
The Seattle Times reported that the $22 million the mass-merchandise chain spent on Initiative 1183 was the most any single donor had ever spent on an initiative. In addition, Safeway and Trader Joe's each spent $50,000, while the Northwest Grocery Association spent $30,373, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, alcohol wholesalers, the Beer Institute and the UFCW Local 21 have donated to defeat the measure.
Washington is among the handful of states in which liquor may only be sold in state-owned liquor stores, due to laws that date back to the period following Prohibition, when alcohol sales were legalized but became subject to strict regulations.